2A girls' soccer MVP: Sponaugle's versatility led Waterford
Waterford sophomore Grace Sponaugle had just five goals entering this year's Class 2A state soccer tournament.
She appeared to be just another solid contributor to the Ravens' soccer machine.
As the tournament progressed and the pressure ratcheted up with each round, so too did Sponaugle's impact for Waterford.
She delivered a goal in the Ravens' 7-0 opener over South Sevier, another in their quarterfinal win over Richfield then scored both goals in their 2-1 win over Maeser Prep in the semifinals.
The Ravens trailed St. Joseph 1-0 at halftime of the championship game, but Sponaugle scored the equalizier that sent the game to overtime before the Ravens won on a shootout to clinch their second consecutive 2A state title.
"The only time I got nervous was the championship match against St. Joseph's," Sponaugle said. "Being down at halftime, we knew we had to get it going offensively, and I was lucky enough to put one away."
Waterford coach Tim Dolbin believes Sponaugle's versatility is her most valuable asset.
"She's played soccer at a high level for two years," Dolbin said. "We use her in a lot of roles whether that is as an anchor on defense or with her pushing forward from a center-mid position."
Sponaugle excels at producing in the clutch.
"Soccer is such a mental game, so you have to prepare for anything and be ready for it when it happens," Sponaugle said.
With two state titles already under her belt and two seasons of prep soccer remaining, Sponaugle has readjusted her goals.
"My personal goal is to get a four-peat," she said. "That would be pretty cool."
All-state girls' soccer team 2012
Talent doesn't trump everything. Winning takes more. Titles demand leadership and accountability. The MVPs and all-state players of the 2012 girls' soccer season understood this notion. Meet The Tribune's MVPs, first teams and second teams in each class: