Soccer playoffs: Trojans eliminate Virgin Valley

The Pahrump Valley High School girls soccer team tossed aside Virgin Valley to win round one of the regional playoffs, 3-0.

The team (15-2-3 overall, 8-0-2 Sunset League) scores with multiple threats. They have girls like senior Sydney Dennis, with 18 goals this year, based on scores reported to She scored two against the Bulldogs in Wednesday’s game. They also have senior Kaitlyn Carrington with 17, who also scored one in that game to seal the deal.

But it doesn’t stop there. If you truly want to beat them, you must stop freshman Makayla Gent (10), senior Vaniah Vitto (7), senior Kathy Niles (7), junior Grace Gundacker (6), Madelyn Souza (3), Kaylee Vega (3) and the list goes on. The point being, the Trojans can hurt you in multiple ways and they have a sound defense.

Dennis agrees and said the scoring is a team effort.

“We have a lot of great freshmen too, like Madelyn Souza, Makayla Gent,” Dennis said. “They are great scorers too. We are all good at sharing. Everyone wants to score, but you also want to help your teammates out. It’s not all about scoring for yourself. We are all good at sharing, working the ball, no matter who gets it and we are always happy for each other.”

Carrington also gave the defense some credit.

“Most of the freshman defenders hold the defense,” Carrington said. “They are pretty good at controlling the field. Kathy (Niles) and Madelyn (Souza) are really good at keeping the field. We mostly keep the ball on our side. Yesterday we actually fought. We have been playing some average teams for the last couple of weeks and so it hasn’t been that hard. Yesterday the teams were even.”

And the Trojans took them out. Carrington said that Dennis was a big reason the team gets its high energy when it is time to play. She said the energy level coming from the team on Wednesday was about a 10 on the scale of one to 10.

“Scoring-wise, Sydney (Dennis) is always good at placing the ball,” Carrington said. “She gets hyped and she wants to score. Energy-wise she leads us.”

In regard to being a positive energy on the field, Dennis said she tries to remain positive.

“I am not going to be mad at them if they mess up,” she said. “Everyone messes up. You can’t yell at someone for making a bad pass or bad shot. I have done it and everyone has done it. All I want to do is lift people up and make sure they are happy when they play.

Who knows what drives Dennis to succeed. She did watch her sister Sarah, who was a senior on the 2012 soccer team play the year the Trojans won state. And now she has the possibility of going this year, which has been a goal since she was a young girl.

How much do the Trojans want this state championship?

“Our girls want it,” Dennis said. “We are all excited and ready to play. Everyone wants to win. We are prepared. I try to be positive and I always try to motivate people on the field.”

Carrington said a big part of it has to do with what happened last year when the Trojans were forced to forfeit their entire season.

“Last year we had our season taken away from us so this is pretty important,” Carrington said. “This is the farthest we have made it I think in three or four years and we won our first playoff game, which is pretty exciting. The Trojans have not played Tech before but we have beaten the number one Sunrise team, Moapa Valley (12-6-2, 9-1-2 Sunrise League), in a tournament.”

Yes, they did. They beat Moapa Valley 3-0 in tournament play at the beginning of the season.

Trojans coach Julie Carrington also wants this game.

“After yesterday’s win against Virgin Valley, I believe we are prepared to win against Tech,” she said. “We haven’t played them before, but I am confident in the abilities of my team. We have a strong starting line and capable substitutes to keep the momentum of the game progressing in the right direction. How bad do we want it? We want first place. Our goal from the beginning of the season is to go to state. We are working toward that goal game by game and not taking any team for granted.”

Dennis said that she was a different player when she was younger.

“I was different when I was younger,” she said. “I wasn’t super-aggressive. My parents always told me, ‘Syd you have to body up.’ I told them, ‘I can’t.’ But now with club (soccer), you have to. You either body up or you are going to get bodied up. I am tired of falling and getting knocked down so now I am giving that. I get more comfortable doing that.”

One thing is for certain, and that is Dennis will have her game face on for today’s game at 4 p.m. today against Southeast Career Tech (12-4-3, 8-2-2) on field 8 at Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex in Summerlin. So Tech, watch out.

If the Trojans don’t advance to state, it will be a surprise to many who have been following them. Today they play a sound Tech team, the second place team (12-4-3, 8-2-2).

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at