The Thunder Mountain girls’ soccer team put together perhaps its best performance to date on Saturday’s senior day at Thunder Mountain High School, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Two defensive miscues midway through the second half allowed Ketchikan to score two easy goals and break open a scoreless tie on the way to a 2-0 Kings’ win to end the regular season.
The Falcons were unable to get a win for the second consecutive year, but optimism is high around what is a young core of players.
“Even though we lost, just to see how much we’ve improved since the beginning of the season, or even just a couple of games ago, is good to see,” sophomore captain Katie Tarver said. “Having the girls step up and execute what we’ve worked on in practice, that was accomplished in this game. That’s nice to see.”
The Falcons are only losing two seniors, Paris Donahoe and Gesabel Rosa, and Tarver said it will be nice to have some consistency in this program going forward.
“The biggest difference will be that we now have a base layer. We’ll have juniors and sophomores instead of sophomores and freshmen,” Tarver said. “Now we’ve all felt this — that feeling that we can have a push. We’re going to build off of this and hopefully get some wins.”
Tarver received the final “golden boot” award of the year for her effort throughout, not only Saturday’s game, but the entire season.
“We had the opportunities to make plays, and once you get a feel for that, that’s what you want,” Tarver said of the team’s final match. “That’s where the competitiveness has really stepped up.”
Co-coach Moctar Diouf said the Falcons’ progression on the pitch has pleased both he and co-coach Kris Coffee.
“They’re beginning to understand positioning, defensive responsibility, and we’ve started to see our ability to attack,” he said. “We were getting into (Ketchikan’s) half much more than we have in the past.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t convert on any opportunities, but we’re really happy with what we’ve seen.”
While he ackowledges there’s still a long way to go, Diouf said this group is capable of great improvement.
“We are definitely far away from where we were last year,” he said. “It’s giving us hope for what’s to come in this program.”
Boys fall in Sitka
The Thunder Mountain boys’ soccer team wrapped up its season in Sitka over the weekend, but it didn’t quite go as planned.
The Falcons lost 5-0 to the Wolves on Thursday and 3-0 on Friday during what coach Ry Walters called a disappointing weekend series. Thunder Mountain was without several key players for the trip to Sitka, and the bright side for Walters was people got playing time in preparation for next year.
“The guys we had played really hard, but it really wasn’t the team we’re used to putting out there,” he said. “I think if these guys would have had a chance to really play together all season it could have been different. There were just a lot of new faces in different places.”
The Falcons finished the year with a record of 1-14-1, but with all the youth and inexperience this group possesses the progression over the season has been obvious. Walters said this weekend was a chance for the youngest players on the team to showcase their abilities.
“They took it as an audition for a spot next year, and they played to the best of their abilities. That’s something that’s always good to see,” he said. “If it means this is what we use to work harder and get better in the future, we’ll look back on this weekend. We don’t want to lose these kind of games anymore, and if we’re willing to work for that then it’s a positive thing.”
The Falcons have no seniors on varsity, and Walters said he expects the majority of the team to return in 2012.