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Senior moments: Falcon girls soccer seniors take pride in improvement, unity
South Whidbey’s four senior co-captains led a young, inexperienced squad to two more victories than the 2010 season, brought a first-year head coach into the fold and avoided self-described “drama” and bad attitudes that plagued the team only a year prior. They improved their conference record to 4-10 (6-10 overall).
What was the best game of the season and your career?
Amanda Lutsock: The best game of the season was our last game against Archbishop Murphy. Every single girl on our team pushed herself and it showed. We did 100 percent better than the first time we played them this season and I finally learned how to slide tackle. My favorite part was sliding in the mud with my team at the end of the game. My favorite game of my career was when we played King’s my sophomore year. I had to shadow this 7-foot-tall girl who was the best on their team. My job was to not let her score and I did it. The next year she ended up playing for the University of Washington.
Makenzie Peterson: The best game of the season was when we lost to Lakewood 0-1 because everyone fought to the end and we played like a team.
Cortney Fredriksen: Best game of this season would have to be the game at home when Makenzie Peterson split her head open. Before she got hurt, our defense was falling apart and our offense including myself needed to be more aggressive. After Makenzie went down and got taken to the hospital, I called for a team huddle and just heard every motivating thing I needed to hear. After the huddle we came out harder than ever and almost took the game back. The best game of my career would be a game during our select team days, the Soccer Shockers, when we won one of our last games somewhere in town and the field was covered in inches of thick mud. After the game we celebrated our win by sliding through the mud for about 20 minutes and after our last game against Archbishop Murphy at home this season, we relived that memory and it was amazing.
Brianna Haimes: The best game of the season I would have to say would be the Lakewood or the King’s game, both at home. I believe these games are equally the best game because both teams came in so confident that they would beat us without even a fight. The ending scores of those games were Lakewood 1-0 and King’s, I believe 3-2 or 3-1. The best game of my whole career would have to be when my select team won the state cup tournament in 2008.
Who on your team impressed you the most and why?
Lutsock: The person who impressed me the most this season was Jenna Kaik. Every game she played solid defense. She improved so much this season. I was impressed by how aggressive she had become and was happy to play defense with her.
Peterson: Ellie Green impressed me every day; her athleticism is incredible.
Fredriksen: I would have to say I was most impressed with Sam (Baldwin), a freshman forward. She seems so quiet and shy, and then when she takes the ball down the line and scores multiple times in a game; it was just a surprise.
Haimes: Sienna Schaal impressed me the most. I say her because she was the type of girl I thought was just out there to have fun and hang out with friends. She got so much better over these past couple of seasons and is a fabulous soccer player now.
What will it take to have a winning season?
Lutsock: To have a winning season will take three things: hard work, dedication and time. You need to put in the time and effort during the preseason to get in shape. Then during the season you need to put in time and effort practicing hard and striving to improve both as an individual and as a team. If you want to win, you cannot take the easy route; you have to stay dedicated and push yourself every day.
Peterson: To have a winning season those girls need to show dedication. It’s not just playing hard during the season but also during the other 10 months. They need to be playing, training together like a normal team year round.
Fredriksen: In order to have a winning season, I think we need more numbers. We were short a couple of games which showed lack of dedication. I believe that with Ben (Rusch) coaching and hopefully some good players coming up to the high school they have a good chance of completely turning the team around.
Haimes: To have a winning season, you have to believe in what you and your team are capable of doing. Getting along with each other, having fun and working hard are all equal in a winning season.
What is your fondest memory off the field this season?
Lutsock: My fondest memory off the field was when the varsity girls and I had team bonding for my birthday. We went ice skating over town and went out to dinner. It was so much fun and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to celebrate with.
Peterson: My fondest memory off the field would just be becoming good friends with the whole varsity team. We really bonded this year.
Fredriksen: My fondest memory off of the field this season has to be when most of our varsity team surprised Ben at his indoor game in Everett. We had to hide in the bathroom until the game started so he wouldn’t see us. We spent our time making posters and taking pictures. It was a lot of fun. When his game started, we all bear-crawled upstairs and jumped up and said, “What time is it? Game time!” — one of our pre-game rituals.
Haimes: This season my fondest memory off the field with the girls was going to Sir Coach Ben’s indoor soccer game. We all squished in one car (there wasn’t too many of us), went across the ferry and hid in a bathroom until Ben started playing so that he wouldn’t see us and it would be a big surprise.
What is the funniest story from this season?
Lutsock: My funniest story of the season was during practice while we were doing a shooting drill. I was running onto the ball and Ellie Greene, our goalkeeper, came out of the goal to stop me. I was running so fast that I couldn’t stop and we collided. I ended up flying through the air and sliding face first on the ground. Ellie ended up with a scar on her leg from my cleats. We both just laid on the ground laughing.
Fredriksen: The funniest story I have from this season is when Maia Sparkman and I were in the locker room at Granite Falls and we were talking about how smelly their locker room was going to be from all our equipment and as we were walking out, Granite girls were walking in and Maia and I joked, “Oh, we have a surprise for them,” and their coach also walked by and he thought we vandalized their locker room and threatened to get us in trouble when we were just talking about how it was funny that our gear made it smell bad and they would have to sit in it.
What is your favorite story about head coach Ben Rusch?
Lutsock: My favorite story about Sir Coach Ben was when the girls and I decided it would be funny to have coach initiation. At the end of one of our practices we zip-tied a pink basket to the front of his motorcycle and put a little pink princess soccer ball inside. There was a matching bell and streamers that we put on his helmet. We made him keep it all on his bike and ring the bell as he drove away. He was a good sport and it was super funny.
Peterson: With Sir Coach Ben there are way too many stories. Of course, there are the famous pre-game speeches. But all in all, Ben has been a great coach and is very serious about his job and made me laugh every day.
Fredriksen: My favorite story about Sir Coach Ben would have to be when we were scrimmaging at practice and Ben was playing with us. Amanda flicked the ball up and it hit Ben right where it hurts. We were all laughing so hard we all fell to the ground as well. It still makes me laugh.
Why play soccer?
Lutsock: I play soccer because I cannot stop. It was one of those things that I tried and instantly loved. It is my biggest passion in life and I can never get enough.
Peterson: I play soccer because it is everything to me. I love everything about it: the fight, the drive, the determination, the aggression, the mentality to win. Just being able to touch the ball puts a smile on my face even though I play year round and it takes up almost all of my life.
Fredriksen: I play soccer because it’s the best stress reliever and the most fun thing I’ve came across in my life so far. There’s nothing else in this world that I would dedicate and enjoy so much in my life. Every time I step onto Waterman Field with those girls, not just those girls but my girls and my best friends, no matter what happened that day or what the drama was, we were all happy, all the time. There’s not a thing I want more than to play with my best friends on that field forever.
Haimes: Soccer is my favorite sport and it always has been since I started playing. I love that soccer is a sport that you can get down and dirty. It’s an aggressive sport and you can connect with other players on the other team. Unlike other sports, you are always around the other players instead of being on opposite sides of the court.
How did you improve?
Lutsock: I have improved in every way possible. I started soccer at such a young age. I played wherever I was needed and learned to play all the positions. When I started focusing primarily on defense, I learned how to shield the goal, cover my teammates, different moves, ball control, marking players, etc. I learned not to stab at the ball or dive in and wait for my opponents to make mistakes or create opportunities for me to steal the ball from them.
Peterson: I have had a long career, with two anterior cruciate ligament tears. How did I not improve? I had to re-teach my body a lot of things like speed and foot skills again two times. This season in specific I really worked on winning 50-50 balls out of the air. Ben made us set goals for the season and that was my goal.
Fredriksen: I’ve been playing soccer since I was 4 years old so my improvements showed throughout my eight years of playing. I owe a lot of my skills and capability to my coaches from way back, including Al Thomas and Gary Peterson.
Haimes: At the beginning of my whole soccer career, I knew I just wasn’t even good and was just out there to be with friends and have fun. Now, I am being looked at to play college soccer and I play for a select soccer team over town.