On an afternoon where practice was cancelled due to treacherous road conditions, Summit High's girls' soccer head coach Tommy Gogolen got calls from his players asking why they couldn't practice.
And not just why they couldn't practice - they wanted to know why they couldn't practice outside.
"The girls are tough. They're used to these kinds of conditions," Gogolen said, which will come in handy when the team takes on Eagle Valley at home Friday in its second game of the season.
"It's an advantage to us, because we're used to going out and playing," Gogolen said, adding, "It's also tough for us, because we only have so many practices outside."
On Thursday, the players face Steamboat, a tough season opener.
After a week of practice, Gogolen is confident the team is strong this year. It's important, because the Lady Tigers are coming off of a 6-9 season record last year and the conference is looking to be strong.
"We have a good young crew and a good, solid upperclass," he said, adding the team has nearly 40 players coming out for the season. "It will be competitive for starting positions because we have numbers this year."
Every year, Gogolen's goal is to make playoffs. Perhaps there's a chance this year, particularly when there's a strong group of underclassmen vying for varsity game time.
He highlighted returners like senior sweeper Cora Zimmerman as strong points of the team. Rachel Fitch, a sophomore, is an anchor of the defense as well, Gogolen said. And Katy Harris, a skiing phenom as a sophomore, is looking forward to the soccer season.
"She's a true defender, but she's also a scorer," Gogolen said. "I put her up top because she scores goals for us and she wins games."
Also excelling in the midfield-forward part of the pitch is Makayla Lorch, a senior midfielder. Isidra Luna lends some speed to the field, and Brett Huntley plans to return to the game after one year off.
"I could keep going on and on," Gogolen said. "There's not really one girl that really, really stands out. We all play together."
The team's primary goalie graduated last year and Gogolen is still in the process of deciding who will take on that position.
Gogolen is hopeful for this season, because in his six years of coaching, he's only seen growth.
"Four or five years ago, we only won two games on the season for the first few years," he said. "The girls are getting older and getting better."
On Friday, the girls will not only contend with Eagle Valley and the start to the spring season - they'll also be contending with chilly temperatures no matter how bright the sun might be shining.
"It's freezing. Your toes completely freeze. The ball gets a lot harder. The pace of the game slows down. Everything is just cold," Gogolen said. "The wind as well - it gets windy up there on that field. It's a homefield advantage because (the Tigers) are not shocked by it."
What's the game plan this week?
Go out and play hard - and shut the offense down. Gogolen plans to work defensively for a few weeks, then maybe focus heavily on the offensive mindset once the defense is functioning on its own.