Mustangs win Region 4 championship
Jun 05, 2017 04:06PM ● Published by Greg James
Herriman’s boys soccer team hoists the Region 4 first-place trophy. (Herriman Soccer)
As a soccer program on the rise, Herriman finds itself in the state playoffs once again.
The Mustangs have captured their-first ever region championship. They finished the season 12-1-3.
“I think our season went really well,” Mustangs head coach Ryan Mitchell said. “We had one bad week with a loss and a tie that we learned a lot from. I knew we would be good. The kids worked really hard.”
In that week, the Mustangs lost to American Fork 4-2 and tied West Lake 1-1 early in region play. Mitchell said the team learned from its mistakes. Last year, the team lacked experience, but this year it capitalized on what it learned. The team had eight seniors on the roster this spring.
The Mustangs defeated their rival Riverton twice this season, 4-0 and 2-0.
Junior Carter Johnson led the team with 11 goals. He was injured in a Thanksgiving tournament last fall, but as captain, he maintained desire and determination for his team.
“He (Johnson) is a phenomenal athlete for one, but he has played at such a high level his entire life,” Mitchell said. “He has a high soccer IQ and understands the tactical aspect of the game. He is very good with the ball—an explosive athlete.”
Freshman Kolton Johnson (no relation to Carter) was second on the team in scoring. Mitchell said he is equally as important to the team’s success.
“He (Kolton Johnson) is a phenomenal player as well,” Mitchell said. “For him to contribute the way he has as such a young player is incredible.”
The four seniors on defense held opponents to only 11 goals. Devin King, Jaxson Ruff, Sam Marlor and Sam Angus anchored a backline in front of goalkeeper JD Meyers.
“JD Meyers, I think, is the best goalkeeper in the state,” Mitchell said. “Our success came from our back four and our keeper. They all play high level club soccer.”
Myers is a junior and has 12 shutouts in his career to date, seven of which came this season.
Mitchell said the team came together and supported each other through some tough times. They had several injuries and had players miss playing time. He said that is part of the team character.
Angus received an Academic All-State Award from the Utah High School Activities Association. To be eligible for this award, a player must contribute to the varsity team and excel in the classroom. The UHSAA considers this to be its most prestigious award.
The Mustangs began the state 5A soccer tournament May 16 against Jordan, which placed fourth in Region 3. Herriman routed Jordan 8-2 to move on to the quarterfinals where the Mustangs faced defending 5A champion Viewmont on May 19.
“We have very good students,” Mitchell said. “We have several that tutor other students. Carter coaches an under-4 team on his own time. The entire team is full of quality kids. Our chances moving forward are real good. They work hard and approach each game the right way. They need to be mentally prepared. They are a great bunch of kids. In my 21 years, this might be my favorite group of kids.”