Hillcrest women’s soccer team dominates in region play
Oct 17, 2018 10:43AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Hillcrest High senior Rachel Workman fends off Kearns High players during the Huskies overtime win. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Bob Bedore | [email protected]
Note: For deadline purposes, this article was written before the playoffs began and only contains information for the regular season.
There’s an old adage that it’s not how you start that’s important, it’s how you finish. And for the girls and women of Hillcrest High School’s soccer team, that finish has been spectacular. After starting the season 0-3-1 and scoring only two goals (while giving up 14), the Huskies entered region play and earned a 7-1 record and filling the net 34 times and giving up only seven.
Quite the turnaround.
“We just got tired of losing,” proclaimed senior and team co-captain Anna Wright. “We just all got together and said that we’d had enough and that we had been playing our own individual games. It was time to play like the team we knew we were.”
And with that the Huskies went out and dismantled the region. Their only loss came to Hunter, and they later avenged that loss. Both Hillcrest and Hunter ended at 7-1 in region with their only losses coming to each other.
This has been a great year for the team and the bonding that has happened is apparent in everything they do, but each player will point to their new coach as the real linchpin to the team’s success.
“Coach Peery has been an amazing coach and she has a deep connection with each of us,” Senior and co-captain Tammie Tan said. “She wants and knows what is best for us, even when we don’t.” Tammie went on to add, “For me personally, she has been one of my greatest role models. She has helped me tremendously both in and out of soccer.”
Coach Kyra Peery — KP to her team — had been an assistant coach for the last few years before accepting the head coach position in January of this year. Her passion for the game has infused the team and each member has rallied around her.
“My entire coaching staff has the welfare of our players at the forefront of their minds,” Peery said. “We would like them to graduate from Hillcrest women’s soccer with a good work ethic, confidence, and respect for others. All of these can be taught with soccer and we hope each player finds a way to apply these qualities as they grow.”
Many of the players on the team spoke about a feeling of “family” for this team, but for KP it takes on a bigger meaning. Her husband, Brock (a teacher at Hillcrest and former college football player), also coaches the team.
“He works so hard with the girls on their strength and conditioning and all the behind-the-scenes stuff that makes a team function,” Peery said. “Basically, I couldn’t be doing my best work without such a great husband/coach on the staff.”
Even her daughters have become a regular fixture at the practices and games. “It is a family-oriented program. Personally, the parents and players have been so accepting of my family. Both of my daughters love ‘the soccer girls’ and look up to them. I am glad that my daughters have strong female role models in their lives at such a young age. We have a great group of young women in our soccer program and I am proud of them.”
There have been some great moments for the team this year, but Peery likes to put the Senior Night as one of the biggest.
“We came off of our best week of practices and got the result the girls worked so hard for. A win for the seniors and for the team was 100 percent deserved with their efforts the week previously in practice. It was rewarding for our coaching staff as well to see the players so happy with the result.”
The team has some great senior leadership, but the play of the entire team has been strong and that bodes well for next year’s squad. Juniors Annyka Schershlight and Morgan Miller have had an amazing year and look to be strong leaders next year as well. And with the legacy that is being set forth by KP and her “family” of athletes, the women’s soccer team of Hillcrest High School should be a factor in Utah for a long time.