To see the all 17 previous Deseret News All-State Girls Soccer teams, click here.
Usually a rule of thumb in high school sports dictates that players need a year or two of seasoning before they can expect to play a big role for their varsity team. But such a formula did not apply to any of the Deseret News MVP selections for the 2008 girls soccer season.
Though every MVP is at a different stage of their soccer career, each shares a common bond in the fact that they contributed to their team's success almost from the moment they began playing high school soccer.
5A: Natalie Norris, Alta
Natalie Norris never expected to fill a key defensive role as a freshman. The whole experience of being inserted into the starting lineup at such an early juncture was equal parts startling and overwhelming.
"You're playing against seniors who are bigger, faster and stronger," Norris said. "And you're playing with seniors who are bigger, faster and stronger and relying on you to hold up your end of the stick."
Whatever rumblings of terror Norris felt soon became muted as she realized her coaches and teammates had confidence in her ability. And her role slowly grew until Norris became practically indispensable by her senior season.
When Norris became a defensive anchor, the unit took on elements of her personality — which was a good thing.
Hawks coach Lee Mitchell said Norris could tackle any defensive assignment because of her determination to get the job done. And that factor earned her playing time right away.
"If you asked her to do something, it was done," Mitchell said. "If I told her to stay with someone, (even) when she was a freshman, she would be on them like a pest the whole game."
Norris began her final year at Alta by moving from left back to sweeper, a position she played on her Sparta United club team.
In her younger years, Norris experimented with playing at forward and midfield. But she eventually found she preferred being on the backline to anything else. It played to her natural abilities.
"For me personally, I enjoy reading the game," Norris said. "You can read it better as a defender because you see everything in front of you."
Norris will leave for Utah State having contributed to three consecutive state title runs. One of the sweetest memories she will take with her is seeing how the defense she led came together down the stretch.
After opening October with a 3-2 loss to Brighton, Alta never yielded another goal on its way to capturing another state championship.
"Our defensive unit meshed together really well," Norris said. "We were able to work with each other. We read each other's minds. We were always there for each other. It was just a solid group."
4A: Jaiden Thornock, Bonneville
Jaiden Thornock emerged quietly enough by starting in a handful of games for Bonneville as a freshman. But when the Lakers graduated 14 seniors from 2007, Thornock suddenly found herself embracing a greatly expanded role.
"I guess I came in knowing I needed to score to get the job done, so we could win," Thornock said.
Thornock filled that role to perfection for Bonneville, scoring 19 goals in 19 games. Along the way, she helped the Lakers rise from a play-in game, winning their league's fourth seed, to 4A champions for the first time ever.
Thornock credited the experience she gained as a freshman with preparing her for the rigors of playing a bigger part as a sophomore.
What she experienced this past season offered avenues for even further growth. A slow start for Bonneville became compounded by a late-season coaching change.
Few people expected the Lakers to accomplish much in the playoffs. And when they drew defending 4A champion Orem in the first round, it seemed like the kiss of death. But Bonneville survived one nail-biter after another on their way to the top.
"It's such a rush," Thornock said. "You win these huge games with the score so close. It gives you so much energy and you get so excited. And then, when it comes down to it, you're like, 'Wow, we're in the state championship.'"
Thornock tried to ignore the big picture while the team made its miracle run. But what had been accomplished really dawned on her a few days later when the team's state championship banner was unveiled at a school assembly.
"When we won, none of us really had it sink in," Thornock said. "Then, a few days later, we had our assembly and it really sunk in. We were the first girls for Bonneville to win state."
Winning big games is not a foreign concept to Thornock, though. With her La Roca '93soccer club, Thornock contributed to successful state cup title runs in three of the last four years.
Her goal as a junior is to keep the Lakers' success going in similar style.
"We only lose two seniors this year," Thornock said. "Hopefully, we can take a run again and win it."
3A: Hanna Terry, Park City
Like several fellow senior teammates, Hanna Terry took a season-long sabbatical from high school soccer while competing for her club team, Black Diamond. When Terry returned before her senior season, she did it with the objective of helping the Miners claim a 3A title.
Park City ultimately fell short with a title-game loss to Waterford, but Terry did everything possible to get the Miners to that point.
She scored 34 goals to lead her team and all 3A players — a tally exceeding Terry's combined tally of 26 goals in her first two seasons.
Many came at clutch times. During the 3A tournament, Terry averaged three goals per game and scored all but one of Park City's seven goals over its final three playoff games.
Terry evolved into a dominating scorer in small stages, but seeing her fully blossom was not a surprise. Ever since Terry first ran around with a little soccer ball at age 3, she dreamed of being a playmaking forward.
"I always loved scoring the most," Terry said. "When I was little, I was all about that."
Terry credited Lindsi Lisonbee for facilitating much of her personal success this season. Lisonbee switched positions from defender to forward to help stimulate the offense.
It was a sacrifice Terry could fully appreciate. She had put aside strong interests in music and horseback riding when she started high school to focus on bettering her soccer skills.
"She was a huge factor up top," Terry said. "It was an amazing, unselfish act for her to sacrifice, swallow some of her pride and come up and help me up there. I don't think many people could have done that."
Now Terry will take her game to the University of Utah. Signing with the Utes became an easy decision for the star forward because it seemed like the right place to foster even more growth in the sport she loves.
"The U. is a perfect place for me, and I'm so excited," Terry said. "I just hope that I don't get injured and something (bad) doesn't happen, so I can keep on improving."
2A: Ivee Barton, St. Joseph
It didn't take Ivee Barton long to make an impact. Barton quickly became the Jayhawks' primary scoring threat as a freshman. By season's end, she had scored 36 goals — tying Alta junior Kealia Ohai for most in the state.
Barton never set out to do anything so grand as take the soccer world by storm. For her, scoring simply became a natural extension of hard work and putting forth her best effort on the soccer field.
"I just kind of focused on not trying to score goals, but doing my best," Barton said.
With her scoring prowess, Barton added fuel to an already explosive offense. What stands out most about what she accomplished is that Barton paced a team that returned its top two scorers from last season — Jenny Beaudoin and Michelle Howe.
Barton isn't exactly a newbie when it comes to soccer, though. She proved her mettle enough while playing for her La Roca '94 club that St. Joseph coach Alex Salvo wasn't making that much of a gamble when he inserted her into the starting eleven.
After beating a collection of 3A teams in the preseason, it didn't take long for Barton and the rest of the Jayhawks to start dreaming big.
The team certainly had enough clicking on both sides of the ball for good things to happen. St. Joseph averaged a 2A-best 8.0 goals per game at season's end, while allowing only 0.32 goals — also tops in 2A.
As good as the offense had become, Barton said having a strong defense made all the difference in the world.
"It definitely took a load off of our shoulders," Barton said. "But we all worked together. They passed the ball up so we could score. It was all up to them for us to win."
With a considerable bulk of the team returning — including Barton herself — next fall, the Jayhawks will be automatic contenders to repeat in 2009. But, for Barton, nothing can really top how this season played out.
"It was unreal, actually, how everything came together at the end," Barton said.
2007 — McKinzie Olson, Brighton
2007 — Kealia Ohai, Alta
2006 — Megan Ohai, Alta
2005 — McKinzie Olson, Brighton
2004 — Katie Larkin, Alta
2003 — Alyssa VanderVeur, Bingham
2002 — Elizabeth Affleck, Alta
2001 — Natalie Evans, Skyline
2000 — Shannon Boyle, Mtn. View
1999 — Kim Force, Alta
1998 — Missy Dennis, Viewmont
1997 — Pardis Ariazand, Brighton
1996 — Caroline Putz, Bountiful
1995 — Megan Jensen, Davis
1994 — Shauna Rohbock, Mtn. View
1993 — Jamie Riley, Viewmont
2007 — Kaitlyn Thomas, Orem
2006 — Christine Quinn, Bountiful
2005 — Jessie Baddley, Bonneville
2004 — Katie Reineke, East
2003 — Andra Hansen, Bountiful
2002 — Courtney Asay, Mtn. View
2001 — Courtney Asay, Mtn. View
2000 — Erin Stock, Bountiful
1999 — Dana Dibble, Olympus
1998 — Marcie Giles, Mtn. Crest
1997 — Shay Hansen, Roy
1996 — Ashley Kjar, Olympus
1995 — Ashley Cracroft, Olympus
1994 — Dominque Barcellona, Olympus
1993 — Brook Epperson, Jordan
1992 — Tricia Ferrin, Layton
1991 — Tricia Ferrin, Layton
1990 — Joanna Barney, Brighton
1989 — Joanna Barney, Brighton
2007 — Tara Gehring, Wasatch
2006 — McCall Rynearson, Dixie
2005 — Kelly Isleib, Park City
2004 — Kelly Isleib, Park City
2003 — Kato Mayeda, Judge
2002 — Erin Morrison, Judge
2001 — Elizabeth Brooks, Ogden
2000 — Brittany Esty, Park City
1999 — Brittany Esty, Park City
1998 — Traci Pollard, Ben Lomond
1997 — Jordan Krieger, Park City
1996 — Raeanin Simpson, Lehi
1995 — Lacy Newby, Dixie
1994 — Melissa Sunyich, Dixie
1993 — Nicole Kogan, Pine View
1992 — Pam Franklin, Woods Cross
1991 — M. Newland, Woods Cross
1990 — Nicole Candilora, Ben Lomond
1989 — Nicole Candilora, Ben Lomond
2007 — Lauren Babcock, Rowland Hall
2006 — Nicole Taylor, Waterford