submitted by Kendall Wells
Heading onto the field the Pinnacle High School (PHS) Varsity Girls Soccer team gets ready for a productive practice. Each player holds a goal for the team and a goal for herself. For the team to reach their goals, players work together, each to the best of her ability.
“A great team not only consists of many talented players but players who are willing to improve and do it what it takes to succeed. A great team pushes through the tough times, the bad moments and the losses,” said Coach Jennifer Larsen.
In the preseason, when the team started coming together in practices, Coach Larsen prepared the girls for the tough season ahead. To get ready for their games, the coach put the girls through a variety of challenging drills and conditioning.
“We do different drills and conditioning to get better individually and as a team. We do different drills that involve passing, shooting, team defending and free kicks. All of the drills we do focus on what we need to improve upon that week. The team’s favorite drills are ones that involve shooting or some kind of competitive game ” said Larsen.
While the rigorous practices helped players improve individually as well as preparing them as a team, they also provide fun while conditioning. When the girls met an unfortunate loss, they recognize the importance not to get discouraged, remembering they tried their best. After a loss, teammates consider it important to be there for each other and for the coach to provide inspiring words to raise the girls up when down.
“When my team is going through a rough patch, I like to remind them that they can learn from their mistakes and become a better player because of it. I always remind them to keep their heads up and play their game when a game isn’t going their way and to finish a game strong, ” said Coach Larsen.
While the coach plays a critical role on the team, the players fulfill the most important role. Senior Kendall Wells, one of the captains, tries her best to make sure the team stays on the same page. Though motivated by a goal for the team, Wells also played this season motivated by a personal goal for her last year at PHS.
“The main goal of the season is to win state, but my personal goal is to go out and know I performed to the best of my ability and gave my all to the Girl’s Soccer program, knowing it’s my last year,” Wells said.
Something that most performers go through is stage fright, whether in a play or on the field. Big crowds put a lot of stress on a player, but Wells displayed strong leadership skills to lead the team through any doubts of stage fright.
“Some people prefer to play in front of smaller crowds because there are fewer distractions and it’s easier to focus, but not me. Being in front of a larger crowd makes me excited. It makes me focus even more and just overall makes me more determined and hungry knowing people are watching,” Wells said.
Like Wells, fellow senior captain Rachael Black also held her great optimism about the team and helped a lot as a leader on the field this season.
“My mindset for every game is always to step on the field and play the best I possibly can for my team,” said Black.
When the team struggled to do their best in a game, the captains took on the responsibility to step up and pull the team through. They all worked together to get the ball away from the opposing teams and to make sure whoever scored had an open shot. Everyone playing their positions and communicating with one another.
“A personal challenge I would like to overcome is to try and set a personal record for the lowest number of goals scored on me in a season. It’s a pretty big challenge but with the help of my team, I think it’s achievable,” Black said.
Black practiced five days a week with the PHS team, but she also trains on her own every day to improve her skills and excel in what she struggled with previously. Despite the pressure on Black as a team captain, she knew what she needed to get done and she knew where to set her mind in order to help the team win games.
“I always keep a positive mentality, not letting failures define me. To achieve most goals in life, you have to fail in order to learn and succeed, and you can’t let failing a few times halt your progress to success and achieving what you want,” declared Black.
The PHS girls varsity soccer team went to great lengths to show themselves and their opponents that when they put their mind to it, and added in player confidence and teamwork, they felt like they could achieve anything, and this combination lead to a winning season that took the team to the playoffs.
The Varsity Girls soccer team went into playoffs, on Saturday February 15th and took the win against Liberty High School. In the second round, the girls faced Desert Vista High School Tuesday Feb.18 ending their season with a 3-1 loss.