Summit High School girls soccer team aims for winning-record season thanks to challenging indoor practices ahead of first match
The early part of the spring sports season in Summit County is often a tricky time. Many practices are hosted indoors due to lingering winter conditions, and games and meets are sometimes canceled or postponed due to weather conditions.
As of Tuesday, March 7, the Summit High School girls soccer team has yet to have an outdoor practice. Instead, the Summit girls soccer team has mostly been practicing in the late evenings within Summit High School’s indoor turf facility and gyms.
Despite Summit’s outdoor field being covered in a few inches of snow and ice, Summit girls soccer head soccer coach Jotwan Daniels and his team are not worried heading into the first regular season game of the season.
In fact, Summit looked put together in its first minor test of the season on Saturday, March 4, when the team traveled to Standley Lake High School in Westminster for a double scrimmage against Standley Lake and Stargate Charter high schools.
Daniels says he was pleasantly surprised by the play from his team during the two scrimmages and he could hardly tell that a cleat has not yet touched the outdoor, full-sized field.
Summit won both scrimmages by a close margin, defeating Standley Lake 1-0 and Stargate 1-0.
With seven seniors making up a full third of the varsity roster, the team is eager to improve upon the its performance last season when it went 5-9 overall and 1-8 in 4A Western Slope league play.
“We have been playing together for such a long time now that I feel like that we all know how to work together,” senior captain Kelley Duffy said. “In our scrimmage the other week, we did a really good job at connecting from defense to midfield, midfield to forwards. It was just looking really good, and I am super excited.”
“I think we have a crazy-athletic, hard-working team that is ready to learn and get back on the soccer field to start winning some games,” sophomore Olivia Lyman said of the team’s excitement this season.
When only considering last season’s record, it would be easy to discount the team, but the team was much closer to having a winning season than it may appear on paper.
Of the nine losses the Summit girls soccer team recorded during the 2022 season, six of the match’s final result came down to a single goal.
This season, the Summit girls soccer team is trying to turn the tide when it comes to playing in tough, one-goal contests. According to Duffy and Lyman, the team hopes to record more wins in close games by using its collective soccer IQs and fully embracing in-game adversity.
“Coach (Daniels) always says we can work on our soccer IQs — so really building that up and knowing what we are going to do before we even get the ball,” Duffy said. “That way we can be quicker and really expose our athletic ability.”
Outside of Duffy and Lyman bringing their own collective athletic abilities to the pitch, the team will also be led by junior Ella Snyder and seniors Paola Arredondo, captain Katy Clapp, Brina Babich and Joselin Lopez.
Snyder and Arredondo both led the team in scoring last season and will look to score more goals this season, while Clapp and Babich will act as the cornerstones for the midfield and defensive units.
In goal, junior Mya Fearer and sophomore Sydney Merriman have moved up from the junior varsity ranks to become the two goalies on the Summit girls varsity roster. The duo will look to fill the shoes of 2022 graduate Sarah Pappas who only allowed 1.71 goals per game.
The team has yet to set any firm objectives for the upcoming season, but the team hopes to score the first few goals in every match it plays in while also having fun on the field.
“So far, we have talked a lot about getting those first two goals and then only giving up one goal,” Duffy said. “That is kind of our big goal right now — and also just having fun this season is another goal.”
In terms of the indoor practices to begin the season, the Summit girls soccer team has fully embraced the challenge. The unique practice venue has allowed for the team to improve upon their skills while playing under high-pressure scenarios, but the indoor practices have limited the team in terms of conditioning.
“You get better at controlling your touch, but you don’t get that much endurance and running that you get from the field,” Lyman said of practicing indoors.
Regardless of the cards the Summit girls soccer team has been dealt in the early part of the season, Summit’s turf field should be devoid of snow on Thursday, March 16, when the team opens its season against Palisade High School.
“Coming out strong and taking those opportunities that we have,” Lyman said of the home opener. “Supporting each other and having fun.”
After concluding last season with a 5-2 loss to the Palisade Bulldogs, the Summit girls soccer team will look to start the season off strong with a triumphant win at home. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
March 16 vs. Palisade, 4 p.m.
March 18 vs. Steamboat Springs, 11 a.m.
March 21 vs. Glenwood Springs, 4 p.m.
March 23 at Battle Mountain, 6 p.m.
March 30 at Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.
April 1 vs. Conifer, 3 p.m.
April 3 vs. Battle Mountain, 3:30 p.m.
April 7 at Grand Valley, 6 p.m.
April 11 at Steamboat Springs, 6 p.m.
April 13 at Middle Park, 4 p.m.
April 27 vs. Crested Butte, 6 p.m.
May 2 at Glenwood Springs, 6 p.m.
May 4 vs. Eagle Valley (senior night), 6 p.m.
May 6 at Palisade, 11 a.m.
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