There’s a quiet one in every group.
You know, the one who thinks before they speak; the one who has things to say but doesn’t always feel the need to say them just for the sake of speaking.
Juneau-Douglas senior Daffodil Alinson is a quiet leader for the girls’ state-bound soccer team, and as a midfielder, she is the straw that stirs the drink for the Crimson Bears. She’s not always the most vocal. But on this year’s team, she doesn’t need to be.
“I’m more of a people watcher. It’s more entertaining to watch the interactions,” Alinson said. “There are some really entertaining people, especially with Sarah Tarver, (Coach) Matt (Dusenberry) and Sophia (Wahto).
“Those three are just crazy.”
But Alinson doesn’t just watch for the sake of watching, either. There’s a reason why she likes to take it all in.
“You get a different perspective. They show subtle hints of who they are as a person,” she said. “Just by looking at them, you don’t really expect to see some of the things you do.”
While Alinson might not be the most talkative or flamboyant player on the Bears’ roster, she knows her job and does it well. She’s also as unselfish as they come.
“I like scoring, but I’d rather have more assists than scores,” she said. “Plus, Tarver likes to score. I just give her the assist and everyone’s happy.”
Turns out, she’s smart, too. It’s never a bad idea to get it to Tarver, the team’s prep All-American forward.
And speaking of doing her job on the field, the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 2011 State Soccer Championships begin today in Anchorage with the No. 2-seeded Crimson Bears taking on No. 7 Colony.
Alinson said she hasn’t forgotten that second-round state tourney loss to Dimond less than a year ago. While she’s always been content doing more watching than talking, she knows this year is her last chance. As a senior, this is her stage and last chance to shine.
“I feel the pressure on the field. I have to step it up a little bit more and communicate more with the team,” she said. “The center midfielders are the initiators of the offense, and we’re also a big part of the defense, too.”
But don’t mistake Alinson’s quietness for anxiousness. It’s actually quite the opposite. She takes her role in the middle seriously and knows it will take a tremendous team effort for the seniors to go out on top.
“It’s about confidence. It’s also about trust in your team, not feeling like you have to do it yourself,” she said. “But seeing everybody’s smiling face does give you that little push you need before the game.”
Though the Bears ooze confidence — especially as of late — it’s only natural to feel the pressure that comes along with the state tournament.
“We’re a little nervous, but we competed with the top teams in the state during our last trip to Anchorage,” Alinson said. “We’re pretty confident we’ll do well, but we’ll see about the outcome.”
It’s the road trips to Anchorage that give Juneau-Douglas a taste of what the state tourney will be like. Facing the top teams in Alaska during the regular season certainly is different than squaring off in postseason play, but Alinson said those games do help.
“Those teams play all year long, and we really don’t get the chance to do that,” she said. “So when we go up there and stick with them, keep up and actually beat them, it really gives us a huge ego and confidence boost.”
While the state tournament is always where the Crimson Bears want to be this time of year, Alinson said it also marks the end of something great. As a senior, this is her last hurrah as a high schooler.
“It means a lot more. It’s the last year,” she said. “All the seniors, we’ve been playing together since club soccer in, like, fifth grade.
“It’s bittersweet,” she continued. “We’re happy high school is over, but we’re sad we have to leave everything behind, like the sports and seeing each other at school.”
But there is one thing Alinson said would make it all worthwhile.
“If we win,” she said, “that would make me really happy.”
If the Crimson Bears do win it all this weekend, Alinson’s quiet nature might go by the wayside. At least for a little while.