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Prep girls' soccer: Davis' Ireland Dunn wins All-Tribune MVP

Published December 29, 2014 11:07 pm

MVP • Davis forward has one more year left to further her legacy after leading Darts to a state championship.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kaysville • As the seconds ticked off the clock in the second overtime of Davis' Class 5A state tournament semifinal game against Brighton, Darts coach Souli Phongsavath was resigned to the game being decided in a shootout.

Then, with 12 seconds left, something amazing happened.

Junior forward Regyn Youngberg found midfielder Ireland Dunn with a pass. Dunn blasted it into the net and Davis earned a trip to the 5A finals, where the Darts would defeat Lone Peak to secure the state championship.

That was just one of many plays over the course of the season that helped earn Dunn The Salt Lake Tribune's girls' soccer Most Valuable Player award.

"She is always dangerous when she is on the ball," Phongsavath said about his junior star. "She is always a threat to score or to set somebody up. Teams had to game-plan for her at all times and be aware of where she was at on the field at all times."

Youngberg said Dunn is good in big games.

"She is good with the ball and she can make space for herself," said Youngberg. "She gets good opportunities in front of the goal."

"She is a good leader," added sophomore midfielder Mikayla Colohan said. "She always can step up and make a difference in the games. She might not have always had a game-winning goal in the last second, but she can make a good pass. The way she plays, she makes opportunities for us."

Dunn, who was diagnosed with diabetes as a 10-year-old, scored 18 goals and had 16 assists this season in leading Davis to a state title. She has committed to the University of Utah — one of eight Davis starters to commit to a Division I soccer program.

Asked about the goal against Brighton, the ebullient Dunn exuded enthusiasm.

"That was crazy," she said. "We were tied against Brighton with 12 seconds left. Regyn passed the ball outside of 18 feet. I turned and shot it. It was the best feeling of my entire life. Everyone was so happy to be going to Rio Tinto Stadium."

To say that Dunn is committed to soccer is an understatement. She plays year-round, whether for her competition club team that plays out of state, the Darts or, now, as Utah's only representative on the U.S. National Team for girls under the age of 18.

"There is never a break all year," she said. "I don't need one. If I had a break, I wouldn't know what to do."

Teammates and her coach describe Dunn in different ways.

"She doesn't lead vocally," said Phongsavath. "She was a junior, and we had a senior captain. She is a great leader by example. In big games, the other girls were nervous and had doubts. Ireland never felt like that. In the biggest games we had, Ireland came up with big-time plays."

Youngberg said her friend has a crazy side.

"She does crazy things," said Dunn's long-time friend. "She is always looking for a good time."

Colohan said Dunn is funny.

"You rarely see Ireland sad or mad," said the sophomore midfielder. "She's always in a good mood, making other people happy and having fun."

Asked how her friends might describe her, Dunn smiled.

"They probably say I am a loud, outgoing girl who doesn't keep things inside," said Dunn, who said she earns A's and B's in the classroom. "I don't keep things inside. I'm always loud."

Dunn has played soccer her entire life, but calls this year perhaps the most fun she has ever had in the sport.

"Ever since summer, when we started conditioning, we had a good bond once we got the team together," she said. "We played really well together and were really close. If I didn't have my teammates, I would have nothing. They mean the most to me. This was the best team I've ever been on. … We get along so well. They were all hard workers. It was a blast."

With one more year of high school left and only two graduating seniors, Dunn expects Davis to be in the hunt again for a title next year.

"I am super-excited for next year," she said. "There will be a lot of pressure since we won. We will want to win just as bad as we did this year. I know we can do it. We have a ton of amazing players for the upcoming year."


Twitter: @tribtomwharton —

Inside • More All-State

• See who joins Davis' Ireland Dunn on the All-Tribune Team. › XX

• Check out the state's prep girls soccer coaches' All-State Volleyball picks for Class 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A. > XX






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