The Taylorsville Warriors soccer program isn't done yet.
After flaming out in mid-April with four straight losses -- and putting their playoff chances at risk -- the Warriors have turned things around with solid play in their last four games (2-0-2 record during that span).
Taylorsville coach Creed Healey credits the players for showing a united front during the good times and the bad. If not for strong team chemistry, the season could've quickly gone down the tubes. Yet, Taylorsville's survived to turn the state tournament brackets into their favor.
Entering the week, the fourth seed from region was firmly in the Warriors' pockets while still having a good chance to steal the third slot away from Hillcrest. In any case, Healey and Co. are just happy to get the Warriors back to the postseason after a year absence.
The players have a great desire to learn and work hard, Healey said explaining the Warriors' reversal in the standings. Our strength is they are united and willing to put the time and effort to be the best. ...They play for the team, not personal gain.
Healey is one of the younger coaches in 5A and it's evident the players feed off his energy. One aspect defining the second-year coach is defense. That emphasis alone has triggered Taylorsville to get back to being competitive in 5A.
A terrific example was the Warriors' 0-0 double-overtime tie to a good Alta team on April 29. The result provided a spark and confidence throughout the locker room. Since then, Taylorsville's reeled off two straight wins (Skyline and Jordan), by far playing its best soccer of the year.
The Warriors will need to improve an offense averaging just 0.93 goals per game. Tyson Taylor is the teams leading scorer with six goals through 15 games. Taylorsville will need to find a way to get Kasey Ashby (two goals) and Matt Lusty more involved in the offense.
The Warriors' first-round matchup will likely be against Region 4 champ, and 5As third ranked scoring offense, Timpanogos. An obstacle indeed, but nothing new for Taylorsville.
The Miners pushed Region 3 leader Copper Hills to the brink last week before falling short, 2-1 in overtime.
The shortcoming has to be an encouraging sign for Bingham coach Scott Maxfield . Heading into the week, the Miners were still in the running for the second seed from region with Kearns and Riverton. Although Bingham isn't playing as well as it was in late April when it ran off three straight wins, the Miners are still a dangerous bunch.
With a balanced scoring attack -- 10 different scorers this season -- and a comparable defense, they've proven they can hang with anybody in state. Just ask Riverton, who failed to score against Miners' goalkeeper Nick VanderVeur in last week's contest.
Like Taylorsville, the Cougars are pushing to get back into the state tournament after a year absence. Although the Region 3 program's playoff standing is uncertain heading into the week, the Cougars will fare no worse than the fourth seed from conference. It's a great step up for a soccer program trying to compete with local titans Bingham, Copper Hills and Riverton.
In the tournament, the Cougars will need to increase its offensive production to bust the brackets. They've counted on Kearns football standout Fatu Moala all season. And they will continue to so next week. But he will need help. Look for Jarin Bell and Daniel Bentley to be aggressive in and around the goalkeeper box.
Big number » 3
Times that Kearns goalkeeper Taylor Whetman has recorded shutouts on Thursday afternoons this season.
Top performer » Carlos Lara
The Copper Hills forward did it again, netting the game-winning goal in the fifth minute of overtime against region rival Bingham, giving Lara his state-leading 16 goals of the season.