Senior leaders spark soccer girls

Familiarity is the key for the HRV girls soccer team entering the 2002 season.

If you ask the 10 seniors on the roster how they expect to do this season — their first in the Intermountain Conference — they can break it right down to the core.

“Most of this core group has played together since we were 10 years old,” said senior team captain Becca Meierbachtol. “That should really help with our unity on and off the field.”

The Eagles return eight of 11 starters from last year’s state playoff team, including Meierbachtol, a 2001 first-team all-conference selection, Acer Lopez, a feisty, goal-hungry junior striker, and the entire back line, anchored by Elie Meierbachtol and Jodie Gates.

“The chemistry is really good,” said Gates, who will be joined in the back by junior Lisa Tedford and seniors Lindsay McClure and Candice Hoag. “We haven’t played a lot together since last season, so we’re still working out some of the rust. But we’ll be fine after a couple games.”

One of the team’s unknown quantities is senior goalkeeper, Becki Flory. While her teammates know what she can do on defense and in the midfield, they are less familiar with her goalkeeping prowess. However, after just three weeks of practice, they’re already gaining confidence.

“Becki is a go-getter,” said Becca Meierbachtol, who also plays with Flory on the HRV basketball team. “She’s really aggressive and isn’t afraid to take charge back there.”

Flory is equally confident, and doesn’t feel a lot of pressure because she knows what her supporting cast can do.

“Our defense is one of the main reasons I agreed to play keeper,” she said. “Coach (Sue Farro) said she needed a keeper, and she liked the fact that I could jump and use my hands. I still need a little work, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Fellow senior Ruby Brunk and junior Anna Hidle will back up Flory in the net. Hidle will also join Lopez and senior six-footer Brittany Reed on the forward line, providing for a well-rounded attack, with equal parts speed, heart and height.

Meierbachtol and her senior center midfield counterpart, Jazzy Cohen, also hope to wrinkle the net a few times themselves this season.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure,” she said. “I’m just excited to be in the middle and help make it easy for the forwards to score. Maybe even get a few myself as well.”

Meierbachtol and the Eagles open the season at home Thursday versus Redmond.

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