SALT LAKE CITY — This fall, Utah Catholic Schools’ girls’ teams showed their strength with a state 3A tennis title for Judge Memorial Catholic High School, a state soccer final finish for St. Joseph CHS and semifinal finish for Juan Diego CHS, along with competitive performances in other sports.
Juan Diego Catholic High School
The Soaring Eagle team finished the season as region champs 11:5 with sophomore Addison Pettit being named #1 in region and to the 3A All State 1st team with 34 points (13 goals, 8 assists) and 3.4 points per game.
In the Oct. 11 second round of state play, after a first-round bye, JDCHS defeated Union 8-1 at home.
The Oct. 21 quarterfinal game against Manti was a tough one, coach Joe Baca said. The game went into double overtime, but the Soaring Eagle emerging victorious, with a score of 3-2.
“It was a close game; we had three goals called back from offside positions,” Baca said. “We had many, many chances, including three of them that went in the net, to really put the game out of reach. But unfortunately, we had to work hard to get our third goal. We were up to one with about 50 seconds left and the referee gave them a free kick outside of our penalty box. And they scored to tie it up to take it over time.”
The Oct. 19 semifinal game against Ogden at Zions Bank Stadium was even harder, with the Soaring Eagle team falling to the Tigers 9-1 , Baca said.
“I think we almost left it all out there in the quarterfinals,” he said. “We didn’t perform very well in the semifinal, but the seniors that were on the team that filled most of the positions did their part in making sure that, you know, everybody knew that this game wasn’t going to be lost.”
“We came with a lot of heart to play the team that we knew would be difficult to beat,” he said. “They demonstrated their senior strengths when it came to experience. And we still were able to score a goal where many teams were unable to achieve that. So, I’m very, very proud of our girls for not giving up.”
The defeat was particularly bitter because the Soaring Eagle also lost to the Tigers in the 2022 semifinal game, he said.
Still, overall it was a good season, Baca said. “Our girls really made the best of every game, whether it was a team that we may not be victorious against, or even in a game where a team took the lead 1-0,” he said. “They never really gave the impression that they were afraid of loss.”
Next year will be a rebuilding year for JDCHS, with Baca losing seven seniors, but his goal is to make it to the state semifinals and beyond, he said.
At the state meet Oct. 24 at Regional Athletic Complex, Rose Park the Soaring Eagle girls cross country team finished ninth overall with a score of 237.
St. Joseph Catholic High School
In the first round of 2A state play Oct. 21 at home the Jayhawks defeated American Prep 3-0. In the Oct. 27 second round, also at home, they beat Intermountain Christian 3-0. They fell to the North Summit Braves 1-3 in the quarterfinals and then lost to San Juan 3-2 the following day in the consolation bracket.
In the first round of the 2A state tournament on Oct. 11 St. Joseph CHS defeated South Sevier 14-0 at home. The Jayhawks went on to beat Millard 5-0 in the Oct. 14 quarterfinals. Advancing to the Oct. 19 semifinals, they defeated the Parowan Rams 2-0.
“They were pretty tough,” coach Tom Evans said of the Parowan team. “We thought we’d have our hands full, but we came out and scored early. It was one of the best games that we played.”
In the final game, Rowland Hall’s Winged Lions scored two goals in the first half to the Jayhawks’ one. Although St. Joseph scored twice more in the second half, Rowland Hall did the same, keeping the lead to finish 4-3.
“We played pretty well; we gave up kind of a couple of goals that were questionable for us,” Evans said. “We really battled hard, and we had a ton of chances. Abby Gough finally scored with about nine minutes on the clock; she scored to make it for three. And then we had a couple chances to equalize but we just couldn’t get there. But the girls played with a ton of guts and I’m super proud of them.
“You know, I thought we had a pretty good chance [of a state title], but we did end up with quite a few injuries and then two players that we thought we’d have back for this season ended up leaving the school,” he added. “So what we thought would be a really strong, full team coming back ended up being a little slimmer than we thought and then a few injuries kind of made us real thin. Still, it was good for the girls that were around the whole season; they played a ton of minutes.”
Judge Memorial CHS
The second doubles team of Sophie Valles and Emma Evensen took the state championship in 3A play Oct. 6-7 at Liberty Park. (See story in the Oct. 20 Intermountain Catholic). Making it to the state semifinals were the first doubles team of Taeya Vacharothone and Olivia Lee, and second singles player Audrey Selfridge, a senior. Second singles player Avery Kaleel, a sophomore, was defeated in the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs ended the season third overall.
“We are very excited,” coach Tracey Valentine said. “Our team finished around 11th last year in state, and this year we finished third, so we couldn’t be more excited.
“We had a pretty young team – we only had two seniors on our team this year, and we just thought they played great,” she said. “They took the experiences they gained last year at state of being shaken a little easily and a little scared by things and just took that experience and built on it this year and just owned a few rounds, so we did really well.”
The Judge girls team finished fifth overall in 5K racing with a score of 124 at the state meet Oct. 24 at the Regional Athletic Complex, Rose Park. Junior Corrine Higgins came in ninth with a time of 19:30.2.