When the 2021 high school girls soccer officially kicks off next Tuesday, programs that know how to deal with pressure-packed situations will be the teams everyone is gunning for once again.

Four of the five No. 1 teams in the Deseret News preseason coaches rankings head into the season as defending state champs, while the lone champ that isn’t pegged preseason No. 1 is ranked third.

The five preseason favorites are Davis (6A), Bonneville (5A), Ridgeline (4A), Morgan (3A) and Rowland Hall (2A). Bonneville is the only team that isn’t a defending state champ as it fell Olympus in overtime in last year’s championship. Olympus checks in at No. 3 in the preseason rankings to begin the 2021 season.

In 6A, all four semifinalists from a year ago cracked the preseason top five, while in 5A all four semifinalists from 2020 ranked in the preseason top four this year.

It’s UHSAA realignment season, and the biggest impact will be felt in the smaller classifications.

Class 4A has shrunk from 21 teams to just 13, with the only teams remaining in Northern Utah and Southern Utah. The old central region has been redistributed between 5A and 3A.

Among those teams moving down to 3A is Ogden, last year’s 4A runner-up. Also moving into 3A is last year’s 2A runner-ups, Real Salt Lake Academy High School.

The addition of those two programs adds more depth for traditional 3A powers Morgan and Judge to contend with.

2021 preseason high school girls soccer rankings

Each year, the Deseret News asks every girls soccer coach in the state to vote for the top five teams in their classification. The votes are tallied, and five points are assigned for a first-place vote, four for a second-place vote, etc. Coaches aren’t allowed to vote for their own team. The following are the results from the coaches who elected to participate:

Class 6A

Team  2020 record

1. Davis          19-1

2. American Fork       18-3

3. Layton        14-4

4. Pleasant Grove       11-7

5. Fremont     11-9

Class 5A

Team  2020 record

1. Bonneville  17-3

2. Skyline        16-4

3. Olympus     19-2

4. Murray       15-5

5. Maple Mountain    14-5

Class 4A

Team  2020 record

1. Ridgeline    15-6

2. Crimson Cliffs         12-8

3. Sky View     11-7

4. Mountain Crest      8-9

5. Snow Canyon         10-9

Class 3A

Team  2020 record

1. Morgan      17-2

2. Ogden        16-2

3. Judge Memorial     15-3

4. RSL Academy         5-5

5. Manti         18-2

Class 2A

Team  2020 record

1. Rowland Hall          13-2

2. St. Joseph   9-5

3. Waterford  4-3

4. Parowan     12-4

5. Beaver        6-6