Hillcrest High soccer seniors leave their mark both on and off field
Oct 17, 2018 10:55AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Hillcrest High captain and senior Anna Wright helps the Huskies with their win over Granger High. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Bob Bedore | [email protected]
Leadership is a key ingredient for any team. It can often be the difference in rising above all expectations or failing to meet your potential.
For the girls soccer team at Hillcrest High School, the leadership can be found in an amazing trio of seniors—Anna Wright, Eden Watson-Bucci and Tammie Tan. They took a moment with the Midvale Journal to talk about this season and thoughts of the future.
“It has truly been an honor to have an impact on so many girls,” Tan, one of HHS’s captains, said. “When I was a freshman, I really looked up to my seniors. Now that it’s my turn, I have the responsibility of setting the example. I want to show these girls how to have fun when playing.”
For Wright, another captain, it was about legacy. “We wanted to build on the years we’ve had here at Hillcrest, and leave knowing that next year’s team will have an even stronger foundation for them to build on.”
And the foundation is looking strong. Coach Kyra Peery and the Huskies posted a 7-1 record in region play, including a hard-fought revenge win over Hunter (their only loss in region). And strong juniors are ready to take over in 2019.
“We really wanted to push ourselves,” said Watson-Bucci. “We had a rough start to the season and we all had to rise up and say that we aren’t going to play like this anymore. We became a team and you could really see what a team united can do. It was really great.”
The unity and never-give-up attitude was evident in the second Hunter game—a back and forth battle between two determined teams. Watson-Bucci had been harassed constantly by a Hunter player that finally drew a foul. She also gave back, perhaps a little too much, and was forced to the bench. Wright was given the penalty kick and pounded a perfect arch of a shot that scooted in just inches above the goalkeeper’s hands and below the top bar for the only goal of the night.
“That was my favorite moment of this season,” Wright said.
For Eden, a favorite moment came during the Kearns match with the team down 2-0 at halftime. “In the locker room I just remember saying that we’re not going to lose. I was tired of losing.” The Huskies scored three goals in the second half to win the game and the team was ready to roll.
But with all the great moments in the season, none of these seniors are looking forward to it ending. Being together at practice nearly every day has made them all a family. With the season over and other things drawing them away, all three admit that it’s going to be a little tough. But all three have their plans set.
Watson-Bucci, the fireplug on the team who brings her passion to every game (and everything she does) and uses her adrenaline to constantly increase the speed of play, plans to keep playing soccer in college. She has been making connections and putting together video. And true to form, she has no thought of slowing down.
“I am always pushing myself,” she said. “No matter what level I get to, I know that I can always do better and I’m going to keep pushing.” Watson-Bucci looks to put her passion into art and design away from the field, but definitely wants to look into coaching as well. “I love helping my little brother’s team as a coach. It’s really fun to know I’m teaching them skills and seeing them use them.”
Wright, the gifted athlete who stays calm and focused, is excited to get to her “other life” as a river guide in Wyoming. “I’m so proud of what we’ve done as a team. This has been an amazing year, but it’s really been four years as a member of this team that I’ll remember.” She was especially thrilled to see her coach from her freshman year. “It was amazing to see him and show him how far I’ve come.” Wright plans to go into pediatric medicine in college.
Tan, who is also a student body officer at Hillcrest, has her future as laser focused as she does on the field. She already plans to attend the University of Utah and study sports medicine. Looking back at this last year with the team is full of great memories. “Being able to play with this team and seeing how much fun we have connecting with each other has been incredible. I have loved seeing my girls grow and players and individuals, and I wish them the best of luck after I have been long gone.”
All have nothing but praise for first year head coach Peery. Quickly becoming more than just a coach to these girls, “KP” has helped them all create a bond that will live long after the final whistle blows on the season.
And next year’s crop of seniors will have some big shoes to fill in 2019.