Viewmont junior Erin Dalley only has one philosophy out on the soccer field: "I do whatever I can to get the ball in the back of the net."
It is something at which she is effective. As a sophomore, Dalley put the ball in the net 19 times. An outstanding number, but one if she stays healthy, she will surely surpass this year. In only seven games, she had scored 14 times. According to her coach Russ Godfrey, what makes it even more impressive is that she is no longer a secret weapon.
"All I have to do is put her on the field. She does the rest," he said. "What is more amazing is that even though teams key on her, she still finds a way to get it done."
Dalley is a threat to score anytime she gets the ball. She has the ability to score in multiple ways. Whether it be from a free kick, long shot, breakaway or from a centering ball, she has the talent to finish.
"She has the size, the speed, the skills and she stays so calm and collected when she goes to goal," said Godfrey. "She just has the way about her to make it look easy when she gets the ball in those spots, and she has the ability to finish."
Although most of the scoring has been done by Dalley, she still credits her teammates with not only the team's success, but her own as well.
"I know that I can't do it all," she said. "We have a lot of great players out here. I give the ball to them, and they give it to me. It is only when we are working together that we are a great team. They do a lot for me, get me the ball in the right places, send good balls and support me in the attack."
With a player Dalley, the Vikings are an offensive juggernaut, but it is only one part of what makes them a contender. The defense protects the goal like its storing valuables in it. The goalkeeper tandem of Michelle Gilmore and Shenise May are capable in the net, but it is the defense led by sweeper Jena Roberts that can keep teams from even getting a shot on net.
"Jena is one of the best sweepers in the state," said Godfrey. "She is so strong back there and just plays so tough."
With a dangerous offense, and stout defense, Viewmont is at the top of a list of contenders. But according to Dalley, sometimes it comes down to what you don't do that can win a title.
"It is a game of mistakes (soccer)," she said. "There's no right or wrong way to do it. It's how you play off of what's happening, and the one that does that the best is going to win."
Knights top coaches' poll
(Note: order of finish predicted by coaches.)
1. NORTHRIDGE: Coach Shara Fernandes is contributing to this club in more ways than one. Her daughter, Nikisha Fernandes, is a freshman on the team and leading it in scoring. With Kelsie Ehlers, Sarah Naranjo, Alyssa Toomey, Chelsy Adams, Heather Harvey, Becky Sheperd and crew all returning from last year's team, and the addition of Fernandes and goalkeeper Breana Fitzgerald, this team is loaded and ready for a run. LAST SEASON: 10-4-4. PLAYOFFS: Lost in quarterfinals.
2. VIEWMONT: The Vikings have plenty of talent and coaching to go all the way not only to a region title, but a state title as well. Erin Dalley is a scoring machine. She is the focus of the offense and just finds a way to get it done. Jena Roberts is one of the best sweepers in the state and leads the defense while Clancee Miller and Mallory Mitamura control things in the midfield. LAST SEASON: 11-5-2. PLAYOFFS: Lost in quarterfinals.
3. DAVIS: Long-time assistant Robyn Dickson takes over as coach for the Darts, and she will love inheriting a team with this much talent. Sydne Porter has made an all-state team two years running and anchors the defense from her sweeper position.
Lauren Parkhurst is a talented distributor and scorer. Roxy Tebbs and goalkeeper Scottie Prince highlight a talented sophomore class that could push the team to the top. LAST SEASON: 11-5-3. PLAYOFFS: Lost in semifinals.
4. WEBER: Coach Shawn Jensen knew that this season would be determined by how well his underclassmen perform. So far the players have responded. Freshman Hillary Anger has teamed up with her sister Samantha to make the Warriors more dangerous, and big things are expected from Lindsey Ball, Stephanie Stack and Kylie Johnson . LAST SEASON: 11-5-3. PLAYOFFS: Lost in semifinals.
5. LAYTON: The Lancers lost nine seniors to graduation and are looking to rebuild with some younger players. Danielle Ramos and Sheree Rasmussen lead the returning senior class while junior Alexa Page is the returning leading point person with four goals and five assists last season. Coach Tara Ferrin has many young players just waiting to step in and gain experience. LAST SEASON: 7-10. PLAYOFFS: Lost in first round.
6. FREMONT: The Silver Wolves may find themselves again fighting for a playoff berth. With such a competitive region, it is Fremont that will have to play at its best just to get in. Lindsie Robbins, Kaycee Grange, Bre Perkes and Brook Manning have all made big contributions so far on the year. LAST SEASON: 5-10-0. PLAYOFFS: Missed.
7. CLEARFIELD: The Falcons appear to be in a transition mode with a new coaching staff and an influx of young talent. Coach Jimmie Powell will look to his known comodities of Haley Hall, Nicole Moore, Cloee Colohan and Aleena Shelton to perhaps surprise some teams and either play a spoiler roll, or else manage to squeeze into a playoff race. LAST SEASON: 3-11-2. PLAYOFFS: Missed.