Leading by committee: Girls soccer depends on a strong junior class
FARMER’S KORNER – The regeneration of the Summit High School girls soccer team has allowed fourth-year head coach Charlie Krupanszky to raise the standard of commitment to the program.
The varsity team will no longer accept split allegiances with other activities or interests. Through the regular season and – Summit hopes – into the regional round of the playoffs, the 13 varsity players will focus on little other than school and soccer.
“We definitely bumped up our expectations,” Krupanszky said. “Last year we were more flexible about players doing some other things and missing practice, whereas this year, we’re asking the varsity girls to make a big commitment.”
It was a skilled and tight-knit group that graduated last May after helping to build the program from scratch four years ago. Now, the team is in the hands of a similarly close group of six juniors who will lead the team into its first year of Jefferson County League play.
No one player stands out as the leader – team captains won’t be chosen until after the first couple games. Rather, this class will lead as a group.
“We’re all really close to each other,” said junior Lorna Bremner, last year’s junior varsity captain. “We’ll work together and lead the (team). The respect that we all have for each other is going to show, and whatever captain is picked won’t really matter, because we all believe in each other.”
The group leadership approach will prevent the Tigers from relying on one star player and put more emphasis on each teammate doing her job.
“This is one of those years where I think everyone is going to look to each other as a group more so than last year,” Krupanszky said. “And that has great benefits, because everybody feels like the rest of the team is depending on them.”
This is not to say Summit doesn’t have standout players.
Kate Chapman is the most skilled Tiger. She was Summit’s second leading scorer as a sophomore a year ago. She will likely play midfield in Summit’s 4-4-2 alignment. Tiffany Novak and Stacey Downen are proven varsity goal-scorers, and along with Bremner, they’ll be depended on to create plays and finish them.
Juniors Katy Adolph and Kelly Kastberg will roam the midfield along with Gretta Brown, the team’s only senior. Brown played as a sophomore but took last year off from the team. Sophomore Heidi Ruckriegle will also see time at midfield.
Junior Emilee Sandsmark will anchor the defense with sophomores Shelley Mauch and Jamie Norton. Norton has separated herself as the starting goalkeeper, but she’ll likely yield the position to Mauch on occasion.
Courtney Wade and Amelia Meier are the only freshmen starting the year on varsity, but other underclassmen will likely be called up throughout the year. In fact, the entire lineup is subject to fluctuations before the league schedule starts March 28 against Evergreen.
“The freshmen,” Krupanszky said. “We haven’t really seen them in a game. We have some idea about them, but we’ll put them out there and see.”
As other Summit High teams have discovered this year, the Class 4A Jeffco League is a step up in competition from Summit’s old league, the 4A Metro. The girls soccer team knows what’s coming with teams like Golden, Ralston Valley, D’Evelyn and Conifer on the schedule.
The Tigers, who made regionals the past three years and have one state tournament appearance to their credit, figure earning a spot in regionals is a realistic goal. They’ll have to be in the top four of nine 4A Jeffco teams to make it.
The season starts Saturday with an 11 a.m. game at Rifle.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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