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High school girls soccer: Deseret News 2022 Players of the Year were catalysts to team’s championship seasons

SHARE High school girls soccer: Deseret News 2022 Players of the Year were catalysts to team’s championship seasons
From left to right: Emery Jacobs, Davis; Lily Hall, Skyline; Hadli Barrera, Mountain Crest; Emily Blanchard, RSL Academy; Zakrie Smith, Rowland Hall.

From left to right: Emery Jacobs, Davis; Lily Hall, Skyline; Hadli Barrera, Mountain Crest; Emily Blanchard, RSL Academy; Zakrie Smith, Rowland Hall.

Deseret News composite photo

The 2022 high school girls soccer season featured talented players across the state from 6A down to 2A. A handful stood out among the rest, however, in leading their respective teams to state championships.

Here’s a look at the 2022 Deseret News girls soccer Players of the Year who made the biggest difference for their teams in each classification.


Davis’ Emery Jacobs heads the ball

Davis and Farmington compete in the 6A girls soccer state championship at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

6A Player of the Year

Emery Jacobs, Davis, Sr., F

The Davis Darts benefitted from a lot of outstanding performances throughout the season en route to the 6A state championship, and the steady contributions of Emery Jacobs were among the most important.

The senior recorded 18 goals and three assists, including five goals in the playoffs, to lead the Darts to the state title. Not bad for someone playing out of position all season.

“Emery is a joy to coach and her willingness to put the team first was key to our playoff run. We switched her from center back to forward to help score with the offense. She accepted the challenge to the tune of 18 goals,” said Davis coach Souli Phongsavath.

Jacobs scored a pair of goals in her first game of the season and then just kept tacking them on as she finished second in 6A with 18 goals.

Her biggest goals of the season came in the 6A semifinals as she notched a pair in the first half of a 3-0 win over Skyridge.


Skyline’s Lily Hall heads the ball

Skyline and Bountiful compete in the 5A girls soccer state championship at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

5A Player of the Year

Lily Hall, Skyline, Jr., MF

Skyline’s soccer team hit a few unexpected bumps along the way this season, but as the weather cooled it rediscovered its mojo as the best team in 5A once again, and Lily Hall was the catalyst behind a nine-game winning streak to end the season, which included a state championship.

The junior midfielder recorded a 5A-best 25 goals to go along with her seven assists. Five of those goals game in the state tournament, including the game-winning goal in the 1-0 semifinal win over Timpanogos.

“Nobody works harder than Lily. Amazing leader on and off the field. She leads by example, works extra to improve her game. She studies the opponent, listens and follows instructions from coaches,” said Skyline coach Yamil Castillo. “She’s always ready for the next challenge. She has an amazing and positive attitude.”

Last season Hall was a role player on Skyline’s 20-0 championship team as she recorded nine goals and six assists. The Eagles graduated five dynamite players from last year’s squad but Hall stepped right in and filled those shoes in leading the program to a repeat title.


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Mountain Crest’s Hadli Barrera was voted the Deseret News 4A Player of the Year.

Eli Lucero, Herald Journal

4A Player of the Year

Hadli Barrera, Mountain Crest, So., MF

Injuries could’ve derailed Hadli Barrera’s season on multiple occasions this season, but the Mountain Crest sophomore did whatever was necessary to get back on the field quickly.

“She played through multiple injuries throughout the season because her love for the game runs deep,” said Mountain Crest coach Justin Beus.

Barrera’s leadership in the midfield was instrumental in leading Mountain Crest to a repeat state championship this season.

“Hadli Barrera was a natural leader this season. She led the team in goals and was a great example of athleticism and sportsmanship,” said Beus. “Her teammates look up to her and she holds them to high standards as a leader. Her contributions to this team’s success are immeasurable and go much further than just her impressive stat line. It was a pleasure to coach Hadli this season; she’s an amazing competitor and refuses to quit no matter what.”

Barrera finished the season with 17 goals and 10 assists, including a pair of goals in the Mustangs’ 3-0 win over Snow Canyon in the state championship.


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RSL Academy midfielder Emily Blanchard was voted the Deseret News 3A Player of the Year.

Provided by RSL Academy

3A Player of the Year

Emily Blanchard, RSL Academy, Jr., MF

Whether competing against 5A teams in the preseason or 3A teams in the regular season and playoffs, Real Salt Lake Academy High School midfielder Emily Blanchard stood toe-to-toe with the best in the state game after game and was key to the Griffins’ march to the 3A state championship.

After being named a 3A honorable mention a year ago, Blanchard made a huge jump this season as she controlled the midfield most games in recording a 3A-best 16 assists along with her 14 goals.

“Emily’s ability to break down opponents with her technical skills and creativity paired with a transition to the midfield was key to the success of RSL Academy High School this season,” said RSL coach Sly Yeates. “As a midfielder she was able to have more time on the ball, creating as well as scoring. Emily is a player that is always trying to learn and grow, and undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of her.”

One of her most impressive performances of the season was back in August against eventual 5A semifinalist Timpanogos as she recorded a goal and two assists in the 3-2 win.


Rowland Hall’s Zakrie Smith battles for the ball

Rowland Hall and St. Joseph play for the 2A state championship at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Rowland Hall won 2-1.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

2A Player of the Year

Zakrie Smith, Rowland Hall, Jr., F

A true center forward, Rowland Hall junior Zakrie Smith was a handful defensively for every team Rowland Hall faced this season.

She recorded 17 goals and eight assists in a dominant season in which she led the Winged Lions to a 2A state championship after a one-year hiatus.

“Zakrie came in this year more motivated and determined. She is capable of changing the momentum instantly with her great pressure or ability to shoot from impossible angles. She is a special player who provides joy on and off the field,” said Rowland Hall coach Colette Jepson.

She was at her best in the biggest moments for Rowland Hall. She scored a pair of goals in the 3-1 semifinal victory over Waterford and then notched the game-winner in the second half of Rowland Hall’s 2-1 title game win over St. Joseph.