Girls soccer preview: Tigers' goal: Be relentless
The Farmington girls soccer team is making it a point to focus on reaching its potential -- and avoid any talk about wins and losses.
The Tigers, coming off a program-best 9-5-2 season that ended with a first-round section loss to Eastview, return a host of talented players that second-year coach Rob Carpentier believes has the talent to compete against the elite teams in the metro. But he's not about to throw out any expectations that involve season records or conference awards.
"I am not focusing on wins and losses. In fact, I won't even utter the words. We're using John Wooden's Pyramid of Success to help all of the girls realize their individual and collective potential," Carpentier said. "The idea is that these things are those they can use in life long after soccer has ended. In terms of the wins, if the girls embrace what were doing with this then those will take care of themselves."
The Tigers won their share of games last season, but ended up just 2-3-1 in Missota Conference games and suffered their most lopsided loss, a 4-0 setback, against a more physical Eastview team, in the section tournament. Carpentier said his team has adopted the word "relentless" as this year's team motto, knowing a relentless style of play is what it will take to compete against its toughest competition.
"The girls know what it takes to be successful at a high level, but they haven't done it yet as a team. This year will certainly serve as a challenge to see if the girls can collectively step up another level and compete for conference and section honors," he said. "Further, we need to become more physical. The elite teams we play will come at us in wave after wave. We need to learn to do that."
The Tigers have elite players scattered across the field, starting up front at the forward spots with senior Devyn Alberts and freshman Hannah Miller. Alberts, an all-conference selection, scored 11 goals and handed out nine assists last season, while Miller is a first-year varsity player who Carpentier believes has lots of potential.
Speedy forwards Gabby White and Nadia Lorencz, as well as juniors Kelli Harstad and Tia Jacoby, should help make up for the graduation loss of team scoring leader Katrina Waltz.
The team also has speed to burn at the midfield spots, where returning all-conference player Ashley Kimmell (seven goals, 11 assists) and all-state hurdler Alyssa Parco lead a group that also includes junior Natalee Chromy and seniors Laine Trowbridge and Shelby Calhoun.
There's some depth on the defensive end, where seniors Elena Koch, Janine Miller and Amber Johnson lead a unit that also includes sophomore Leah Zak and varsity newcomers Kelsey Humpfer and freshman Kayla Kucala.
The defense will once again be backed by all-conference goalie Taylor Meyer, who stopped 71 of 81 shots that came her way and registered eight shutouts last year as a sophomore.
"We are very deep and have a good deal of talent across the board," Carpentier said. "We finally have the depth to field a team that is made up of primarily C1 and premier-level club players."
The Tigers open the season on the road tonight against a Faribault team they beat 8-0 last season.