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The City Journals

Optimism abounds for Skyline girls soccer

Sep 05, 2019 03:04PM ● By Josh McFadden

The Skyline girls soccer team, shown here taking a shot against Taylorsville, got off to a 2-0 start this season. (Photo by Bob Dudley)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

At the start of a new season, some coaches are cautious about setting goals and expectations. Skyline girls soccer coach Yamil Castillo isn’t hiding his excitement.

Skyline brought back many key pieces of last season’s Region 6 runners-up squad. The Eagles went 8-2 in league play and 13-5 overall. The team advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals before falling to Corner Canyon 4-0.

Castillo is confident this year’s group is capable for more.

“At Skyline, we always challenge for the top spot,” he said. “I believe we have the team to do it.”

The Eagles won region titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017 before coming up just short last season. Castillo believes he has the players on both offense and defense to contend in league play and at state.

“We have talent all over,” he said. “Our strength is our forwards. We have the speed and the skills to score a lot. Our center midfielders are very talented; they can score, pass and control the pace of the game. Our defense [collectively] has won seven region titles. We have a lot of experience in the back line. They are tall and strong.”

Team captains Izzy Wright, Ani Jensen and Jayda Masina will lead the team on and off the field. Wright, a senior, is the team’s top defender. She was an All-State player a year ago. Jensen, another senior, plays at center midfield. Castillo said she “can score and be very dangerous on corner kicks.” Masina, a junior center midfielder, made the All-State team as a sophomore last season.

Castillo also like the supporting cast of other starters and reserves. He favors an attacking-style of play, evidenced by the team’s 2.7 goals per game in region play a year ago. He said if the players can stay healthy, another league title should be theirs.

“If we stay away from injuries, we will be the team to beat,” he said. “Expectations are always high at Skyline. Our players know they will be in a lot of pressure. For us to be successful, we need to perform as a team. They are prepared, and they are hungry for another title run.”

It shouldn’t be surprising to see Castillo’s confidence. His Eagles have more wins in the past nine years than any other high school team in the state. He has guided the program to seven region titles, four trips to the state finals and the 2015 state championship. 

The Eagles got off to a great start to the 2019 season, winning their first two games in lopsided fashion. Skyline defeated Bountiful 5-1 on Aug. 6 and followed that up with a 9-0 thrashing of Taylorsville on Aug. 8. Against Taylorsville, Skyline netted seven goals in the first half alone, with Ali Swenson and Wright each scoring two. Bri Frey and Lucy Peterson combined for the shutout. 

“Both games were under control from the beginning,” Castillo said. “The energy level is high. As a coach, you always want to be ready to play at the highest level. The future looks very promising.”