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Defense doesn't always win championships, but it definitely will have a hand in how things play out as the Class 3A and Class 2A boys soccer playoffs get underway in Utah this week. Nearly every top seed in both classifications also takes the lead in ranking among the stingiest when it comes to yielding goals.
Juan Diego (14-0) is the top-ranked Class 3A team and has put together the best record of any team in any classification. Defense has everything to do with it. The Soaring Eagle yielded just four goals during the regular season and allowed only three opponents to score. Goalkeepers Martin Kelly
and Bryan Perez
combined for 11 shutouts during that stretch. Kelly currently leads the state with 8.5 shutouts.
South Summit (12-1-1) emerged as the top-ranked Class 2A team after allowing just seven goals during the regular season. The Wildcats are unbeaten when allowing one goal or less this spring. South Summit goalkeeper Nick Beasley leads Class 2A and ranks fourth statewide with 6.5 shutouts.
Games decided by a lone goal or even penalty kicks in a shootout could be the norm in both tournaments. Stansbury, Grantsville and Millard all have goalkeepers that rank in the Top 10 statewide in shutouts and have Top 5 scoring defenses in their respective classifications.
Grantsville goalkeeper Parker May
, in particular, is one of the best between the posts. May tallied six shutouts and 82 saves during the regular season.
Do you know a player or team who has put together noteworthy performances this season but isn't included on our list? Encourage their coach to upload stats to MaxPreps (contact email@example.com for information), and check out our Utah boys soccer stats leaderboard and rankings
each week for the latest leaders throughout the 2016 season.
Top 10 Utah Class 3A and Class 2A boys soccer defensive teams
1. Juan Diego Catholic (Draper)
Record: 14-0. Goals allowed per game: 0.2852. South Summit (Kamas)
Record: 12-1-1. Goals allowed per game: 0.50 3. Snow Canyon (St. George)
Record: 12-4-1. Goals allowed per game: 0.7054. Stansbury (Tooele)
Record: 11-2-3. Goals allowed per game: 0.755. Grantsville
Record: 8-2-4. Goals allowed per game: 0.7856. American Leadership Academy (Spanish Fork)
Record: 12-0-2. Goals allowed per game: 0.9297. Millard (Fillmore)
Record: 11-2-1. Goals allowed per game: 1.008. Waterford (Sandy)
Record: 11-3-1. Goals allowed per game: 1.139. Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant)
Record: 10-3-1. Goals allowed per game: 1.2110 (tie). Logan
Record: 8-5-2. Goals allowed per game: 1.2710 (tie). Dixie (St. George)
Record: 11-3-1. Goals allowed per game: 1.27
John Coon covers Utah high school sports for MaxPreps. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @johncoonsports