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High School girls soccer: MVPs vital to team's state championship success

SALT LAKE CITY — There are many different characteristics to all four of this year's girls soccer MVPs, but one thing they all have in common is their team would not have been as good without them.

Here is a class-by-class look at the 2015 Deseret News girls' soccer Most Valuable Players.


Ireland Dunn, Davis

One year removed from leading her team to an improbable playoff run and first 5A state title since 1995, Davis forward Ireland Dunn was back to her star-studded play this season while leading the Darts to their second straight title.

The senior lethal scorer, who was recently named to the High School All-American team by, scored 17 goals in 20 games this season, second-best on her team, and finished with 57 total goals in her entire 74-game career at Davis to win two state titles and earn 5A MVP honors for the second straight year.

“She’s been absolutely instrumental the last two years, and really her whole career,” Davis head coach Souli Phongsavath said. “I can’t think of too many people who’ve had the high-school career she’s had. She came in as a freshman and has scored a ton of goals of goals for us. She’s just been really consistent as far as putting the ball in the back of the net.”

Dunn, who has committed to the University of Utah, was a huge part of the Darts' high-octane offense, which racked up over 100 goals this season, and always seemed to play her best when it mattered most.

After leading No. 2 Davis to its first state championship with her clutch postseason play last year, Dunn continued to prove just how comfortable and confident she is in late-game situations with the game on the line against American Fork in the 5A quarterfinals.

With the game deadlocked at 1-1 just six minutes into overtime, Dunn drove the length of the field and finished with a tremendous left-angle shot into the far corner of the net to propel Davis to a dramatic 2-1 win and keep its season alive.

“She has a knack for scoring big goals in big games. We had a tough time getting it past American Fork and she took it upon herself to put the game away. It was a great solo goal. Whenever we have needed her to step up, she’s been more than willing to do that and has kind of carried the team when we’ve been down,” said Phongsavath.

Signs were obvious from the beginning of the season that the Darts had another special season in the making for the second straight year.

With seven future NCAA Division I players and nine returning starters from last year's championship team, all of which were capable of taking over the game at any given time, talent was not something the Darts were lacking.

However, rather than focusing on themselves and their stat lines, Davis came together as a team, understood and embraced their individual roles and built something beautiful.

"We're all really great individual players and all of us have a lot of talent. What worked for us is we are all different types of players. When we come together and actually work together, it really creates something amazing," Dunn said.


Holly Daugirda, Skyline

This was the Skyline High School girls’ soccer team's year.

Following back-to-back heartbreaking losses to Timpanogos in two straight 4A championship games, Skyline would not be denied for a third straight year as it rode the stellar play of senior Holly Daugirda to a 3-1 championship win and 4A state title.

"Holly is just an amazing leader and it all started with her. She demanded the most out of the team and they really bought into it. She has tremendous confidence and was not going to lose another one,” Skyline head coach Yamil Castillo said.

The electrifying scorer and University of Utah commit erupted for a 4A-leading 28 goals in 20 games this season, including eight multi-goal games and three goals in four postseason matches, and came up big in the playoffs to finally help end the T-wolves' 4A reign and clinch Skyline's first state championship since 2001.

Daugirda really flourished in the postseason and, when it mattered most, put her team on her back and refused to be denied.

In the Eagles' intense playoff matchup against Woods Cross, Daugirda netted a goal in regulation and in the shootout to give the Eagles a narrow 4-3 SO win and keep their season alive.

"We needed a goal and Holly took over and scored — that’s just what she does. She’s not afraid to take those big shots and PKs at the end of the game and she’s proven she can easily make them. She’s really confident in those situations,” Castillo said.

Daugirda didn't let up one bit in Skyline's final two games against Wasatch and Timpanogos as she found the back of the net in both games to ensure the thrilling championship victory.

And, although able to take over the game and score at any given moment, it was Daugirda's tremendous leadership, unselfishness and tenacity that made the biggest impact on the Eagles and led to their success.

"She’s the type of player that doesn’t care who gets the credit — she just wants to win. She’s a great leader — she’s very unselfish and is always looking to make the right play. I just can’t say enough about Holly,” added Castillo.

She finishes out her high school career with an impressive 76 goals in 79 games.


Demi Lopez, Logan

Logan's move down from 4A to 3A was heavily felt by its competition this season.

The Grizzlies, who finish second in Region 11 behind Juan Diego, posted a 13-4 campaign and went 4-0 in the playoffs, where they dominated their opponents 16-3 in four games to clinch their first-ever 3A state title, end Region 9's reign and make a statement.

"With the players I had, I knew we would be here, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Hands down, I think we are the best team in the state and we're going to be here for a lot of years," Logan head coach Sven Rasmussen said.

And, playing a vital role in her team's success, no one came up bigger than Logan midfielder Demi Lopez, especially in the playoffs.

Lopez, who scored 11 goals in 17 games this season, the second-most on the team, led the high-octane Grizzlies attack in many ways and came up huge in the semifinal and championship games with two goals to help Logan secure its first state title in school history.

"We just kept fighting. We knew they were going to come out at us really hard and we just held in there. I gave it everything I had and it just feels amazing (to win)," said Lopez.

After collapsing at the end of last season by dropping five of their last six to finish at just 5-10, the Grizzlies finished this season with nine wins in their final 10 games and bounced back from a regular season-ending loss with four straight playoff wins, including victories against last year's champion and runner-up, to take state.

Logan began clicking at just the right time and really came together as a team with its undeniable and electric chemistry, which Lopez ultimately believes sparked the drastic turnaround from last year's disappointing campaign.

“The main thing was just connecting and the great chemistry with the whole team. Our chemistry really helped us connect on the field this year and that's why we were so successful,” Lopez said.


Anna Camp, Millard

For the first time in school history, the Millard High School girls' soccer team is the 2A state champion.

The Eagles dominated their region opponents 49-2 with just one loss and finished with 13 wins, including 11 straight, as they easily won four straight playoff games by a staggering margin of 18-1 to knock off 2A juggernaut Rowland Hall and capture the crown.

With a team-high 18 goals in just 17 matches, seven in which she scored more than once, and a clutch postseason, Anna Camp was the leader and spark of the explosive Millard offense game in and game out.

"All I can say is all these girls work so well together. Anna has been the rock of this team all year. So to see her perform like she did, especially in the playoffs, I couldn’t ask for anything more from her. She’s just amazing,” Millard head coach Dale Josse said.

Camp came out and put her team on her back in the postseason as she netted three goals in their first two playoff games and, after a scoreless semifinal match, made sure her presence was felt in the state championship against Maeser Prep.

The electrifying scorer took over from the first whistle and punched in a wide-open goal just 10 minutes into the game to take control early. She continued to attack the Maeser Prep defense, threatening to score, while the defense didn't budge to secure Millard's historic 1-0 win.

"It feels really awesome to be able to win state. It’s always great to make history — it’s so fun to be able to say that. I can’t even describe how I feel — this is just an amazing feeling,” said Camp.

Ryan Love is a full-time student and has been a part-time sportswriter for Deseret News since Oct. 2012.

Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724