The Stansbury and Tooele soccer teams both ended their seasons on losing notes in the first round of the state tournament, but the future looks bright for both teams, which lose a total of three seniors between the two of them.
For the Stansbury Stallions, that future took a hit last week during their playoff game with Cedar High School. Early in the first half, just before the Stallions went ahead 1-0, sophomore and leading goal scorer Michaela Didericksen went down with a knee injury.
Didericksen led the team with 18 goals this season, but head coach Jeremy Alverson assured that Didericksen should heal just fine and be ready for her junior year. He’s mainly happy with the response from his players, as they united together following the injury. Although the Stallions eventually lost to Cedar 3-1, the players have clear expectations for themselves in 2014.
“It was a fun season, and the girls worked hard,” Alverson said. “It was fun to go down to Cedar and see the expectations rise for the girls. We want to host a home game next year (in the playoffs).”
Stansbury lost just one game at home in 2013, which helped contribute to the program’s first winning season. Part of the building process came from the program’s two seniors, Bret Wilkinson and Cierra Golden.
“Bret and Cierra have meant a lot to the program,” Alverson said. “They’re the first group of seniors to go through and see some success. They were there at the beginning when the wins were few. Their hard work and dedication and example to the other girls was great. I couldn’t have asked for more from them.”
The line in the sand has been drawn for the Stallions.
“We’re disappointed not to be in the next round,” Alverson said. “That’s what we’re looking for next year—to get that first playoff win for Stansbury.”
The Tooele Buffaloes lost just one senior from this year’s team—defender Brindisy Russell. So the team looks at its fourth-place finish with optimism, knowing that next year’s team will have a lot of the same faces with playoff experience to go with them.
“Overall, in comparison to our season last year the girls did quite well,” said THS head coach Ruth Alvarez. “Every game, other than Dixie and Bear River, we scored goals. That’s a huge improvement. We had a lot of injuries throughout the season that hindered what we could have done. They definitely could have done better, but they did well. I’m proud of them.”
Alvarez pointed out that this year’s Buffaloes were very intelligent players, and that will translate into more success on the field next year.
“The juniors are feeling like they’re going to be awesome,” Alvarez said. “They’ve grown so much in the last three years. The girls feel they’re going to be a really strong team.”
And the Lady Buffs did pick up a signature win at the end of the season when they needed it. They beat Stansbury in the final regular season game to help build some buzz going into the state tournament.
“That was huge,” Alvarez said. “It’s a huge win for how they felt about themselves. We ended our season—our region season—winning, and we need to start our season winning next year. They’re excited for what they can do.”
She said she was grateful to have a senior on the roster like Russell, who brought a certain level of intensity to every game. She said she’ll miss that intensity because it’s rare to have a player always able to bring that to the field.