Days before the soccer season started, I had no intention of doing any sport but fall crew. I was wary of over-committing myself before the school year had even began, and didn’t think that I had any kind of soccer abilities. About a week before school began, Jo Gudgell Facebook messaged me, urging me to play. Later that day I went to my first practice, still pretty determined that I would have nothing to do with soccer this year.
By the end of that first practice, my opinion had been completely revised. I felt comfortable and welcomed among the girls, who wanted my feedback. Multiple team members inquired “So are you gonna play?” It was evident from these first few hours that yes, indeed I was. The group was and is extraordinarily supportive and has become a major positive force in my life.
Now the only thing holding me back from fully enjoying the sport was myself. I still lacked confidence in my soccer abilities, but throughout the season, I improved greatly, like my team. We all have Coach Chris and Assistant Coach Stephanie to thank for our success this season.
Coach Chris has coached the Middle School soccer team for as long as anyone can remember, and this year he moved up to the High School Girls Soccer Team. He brought his noteworthy history as a professional soccer player as well as his pure love for the sport to our team. His favorite one-liner about soccer is that it is “Like a dance.”
Stephanie and Chris work well together because they are polar opposites. Raised on the island, Stephanie played on the first Lady Vikings soccer team when they won state in 2008, in her senior year. She plays with intensity and major skill and is fantastic at leading cheers.
“I’ve been in transition from player to coach, and from Chama Anderson, our previous head coach, to Chris Doherty,” Stephanie explains. “This has been a building year for the team of mostly 8th graders, freshman and sophomores, and I feel so fortunate to be able to grow as a young coach right alongside this unique group of girls!” Both coaches are positive and “absolutely brilliant!” I am always inspired by their presence and look forward to working with them again next year.
Now that you know what we put into the season, you are probably wondering what we got out of it. Our first game was against Concrete, who we held 0-0 through the whole game and ten minutes of overtime. We lost to them by one in penalty kicks, sparking a season-long rivalry. A few weeks later we traveled to Concrete, with similar results. At half-time we were losing 2-0, but we refused to give up the game. Willow Paige scored a goal early on in the second half, and right as the clock ended, I scored another. Back to penalty kicks, where again we lost by one.
On Friday, October 17th, the pressure was on for us to win in our last game against them. We knew that we could, and had been working hard in practice to make our team coherent. Everything fell into place that day — our passing, shooting, and communication. Olivia Brunner-Gaydos got a hat trick (she scored three goals), Adia Dolan scored once, Aliza Diepenbrock scored once, and Jackie Figueroa scored once. We were a proud team that night, taking home the win 6-1!
Co-Captain Jo Gudgell said about winning: “It felt incredible, and I was so proud of all the hard work that my team put into the season. To experience that victory was the sweetest feeling of them all.” Aliza Diepenbrock of Spring Street said: “Oh baby! It was amazing, and I felt accomplished as a team because we had been working so hard all season. We really clicked and so many things fell into place to make the moment.” Goalie JoAnn Mietzner described the winning feeling as “accomplishing,” and left defender Joïe Zeir gushed “it felt cool.” Center forward Violet described winning as “a relief.”
Other games didn’t go as well, but overall our team improved immensely. Notably, we lost our first game against Friday Harbor 0-7, but held them at 0-2 later in the season.
We know that whatever the outcome of our last two games, we will end the season positively. The greatest advantage our team has is our love for and appreciation of each other. We play with heart, as evident from Coach Chris’s game-day hat with an actual heart pictured on it!
I look forward to next year’s soccer season, and hope we have an even better turnout! If our team dynamics seem attractive to you, please join us! All are welcome. LADY VIKING PRIDE!