Season Preview: SHS girls’ soccer
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
FARMER’S KORNER – Huddled in a parka after practice Wednesday, senior defender Hannah Marion was demonstrating the effects of what she hopes will be her team’s secret weapon this spring: the cold.
“I don’t think they’ll know how cold it is up here,” Marion said of the Tigers’ opponents. “Every practice, we have like four layers of clothes on, and they’ll come up thinking that maybe they’ll just need an Under Armour or something. They’ll be in for a wake-up call with this weather.”
With a very young roster and a difficult Jeffco League schedule, the Summit High girls’ soccer team is hoping the fickle mountain weather may throw off some Front Range opponents. After all, today’s season-opening match with Battle Mountain will be the first time any soccer team has come to Farmer’s Korner to take on the Tiger girls in a spring game.
Summit meanwhile has been getting used to the new synthetic turf pitch at Tiger Stadium for the past three weeks. And they’ve gotten used to practicing in the cold.
“They’re thick-skinned,” SHS head coach Tommy Gogolen said of his players dealing with the weather. “I don’t have a lot of complainers on my team.”
What the Tigers do have a lot of this season is young talent.
Summit has 23 players on its roster heading into today’s match, up from 17 a year ago. Most of the squad is filled wit freshmen and sophomores.
Gogolen sees this spring as a good chance to build the program for the future.
“Most importantly, I want to see the girls get better – all of them, not just the ones that are starting or getting a lot of playing time,” the coach said. “I want to build the team as a unit, so by the end of the season, we have a strong core.”
That’s not to say wins and losses won’t matter this spring or even that the Tigers can’t improve off their three-win season a year ago.
The Tigers have four seniors in the starting lineup and return six starters from last season. Summit also returns one of last season’s leading scorers, sophomore Robyn Kresge, and goalie Hailey Curnutte.
Along with Marion, seniors Hanna Banks, Kaitie Pusey and Kelli McDonald will give some much-needed experience to the team.
“Being a senior, I feel like the future is in our hands,” McDonald said. ” … I feel like I have more of a responsibility to help them build to their potential.”
And the Tiger seniors hope that potential will build quickly this spring.
Banks feels that her team has the skill level to compete with most teams it will face.
“We have a lot of athletic girls,” she said. “The conditioning isn’t really a big deal, and everyone is just a good athlete, so everyone can pick up positions really quickly.”
The Tigers will likely start four or five new players in today’s opener, Gogolen said, including a couple that had never touched a soccer ball before this season.
“These first few games, I anticipate us just working out some kinks,” he said.
The new field, Pusey hopes, will help the team get going faster this spring. In past seasons, the Tigers have had to practice in the SHS gym and never got onto a field until their first game.
“I like the field a lot better than the gym,” Pusey said. “We know our field now and we’ve been able to practice on it. We’re a little more conditioned by being out here. I think it’ll be an advantage for us.”
The Tigers’ opening match today at The Mine begins at 4 p.m.
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