For years Pam Franklin and Natalie Anderson were bitter rivals. Today the two are nearly unstoppable teammates with a common goal - leading Woods Cross to its second consecutive 3A girls soccer championship.
"There was a lot of resentment between us," Anderson admitted.The ill-feelings stemmed from playing on rival competition soccer clubs as youths. Franklin was the star of the Bountiful Lightning, while Anderson was the leader of Devastation. As a whole, there was little love lost between the two outstanding teams.
"We disliked them and there was a big rivalry between us on the soccer field, but we really didn't know each other personally," Franklin said.
As fate (not to mention school boundaries) would have it, many members of the two clubs were forced to play on the same high school team. While it took some getting used to, the former adversaries have been molded into a well-tuned machine that has bull-dozed opponents by near-obscene margins in many instances this year.
The Wildcats have won by scores like 21-0, 20-0, 18-1 and 11-0 en route to a 12-0-1 record, 11-0 in Region 6 this year. Overall Woods Cross has scored 132 goals to 7 for the opposition. In other words, the Wildcats average an unheard of 10.1 goals, while giving up about 1/2 goal per outing.
Franklin and Anderson have been the catalysts.
Every soccer coach hopes to have one striker that, for some reason or another, has the uncanny ability to finish a play by putting the ball into the net. Woods Cross coach Kevin Rigby has the luxury of having two such stars. Franklin, a senior, and Anderson, a junior, have each scored 32 goals thus far - or 21/2 each per contest - with one regular season game remaining prior to next week's state championship.
"They are both just great players," Rigby said. "They have different strengths which compliment each other. Pam's got a rocket shot, always knows where the net is and can score in traffic. Natalie has world-class speed, a nice touch and a shot that is not quite as powerful (as Franklin's) but is quick."
While neither one confessed to knowing how many goals they had personally scored this year, Anderson admitted that wasn't always the case.
"We both had the role of scorers on our competition teams and we both wanted to score last year," Anderson said. "We never came right out and said it, but I know I felt a big competition to score more goals than her and to try to keep my stats up. Coach Rigby kept the stats on his chalkboard at school and I paid attention to it."
While both players finished as first-team all-state selections from the state championship team last year, Franklin won the scoring battle against her teammate, 46-36.
Both contend there is a different feeling between the two this year. "There's still a bit of a rivalry, but not as much as it used to be," Franklin said. "We're helping each other out more this year and we've become good friends."
The result, according to the superstars, has made an already outstanding team deadly. "We're better this year because we're better friends and work together more as a team," said Anderson.
But Rigby is quick to point out that Woods Cross is not a two-person team. "We are strong defensively and at midfield. It's definitely not just the `Pam and Nat Show.' "
Halfbacks Jamie Jensen, Molly Mason, Sara Lyon and Kathy Bullock are responsible, to a large extent, for the goal-scoring success of Franklin and Anderson, as they control the midfield and get the ball to the forwards in potential scoring positions. Jensen (15 goals), Lyon and Mason have proven to be scoring threats themselves. Amber Ivie has proven to be a fine goal keeper for the Wildcats. Put it all together and it may just add up to another state championship at Woods Cross.