To say last season for Northglenn girls soccer was special to the program and to head coach Kristina Churchill would be an understatement. Claiming a 10-0 EMAC Conference Title - their first …
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To say last season for Northglenn girls soccer was special to the program and to head coach Kristina Churchill would be an understatement.
Claiming a 10-0 EMAC Conference Title - their first conference championship in 15 years - and a spot in the 5A state playoffs with nine sophomores, the sky is the limit heading into 2020 with a refined focus.
“I think the step we are going to take this year is getting better during every practice and at every game we step on the field,” Churchill said last week in a phone interview. “We did accomplish a lot last year, and the girls this year are just trying to be in the moment. I really like that mentality, and they are going to have to continue to work hard because teams are gunning for them.”
Despite losing one of last year’s sophomore starters in Gabriella (Gigi) Goddard this offseason due to a torn ACL, the Lady Norse come back deeper than ever after losing only one senior in Nariana Nealy. Both leading scorers in senior Samantha Dominguez Reyes and junior Lauren Woodhull return to the lineup and will be projected to help jump-start the offense with junior playmakers Ella Swain, Mia Swain, Emily Hoy, and Mia Garcia present as well. Anchoring the back-end, senior goaltender, and Belhaven University commit Lauren Knorr will play a monumental role in setting up her team on all levels.
“She’s a senior and knows at the end of the day no matter what team we play against, there are going to be shots coming from any team and she has to come in and do her job. She’s a captain and understands that if everyone focuses on their job and do their best, they are going to succeed,” Churchill said. “She’s really about standing up for her teammates and making them believe. She’s a very crucial part for me, and I can’t wait to see what she does this year.”
Some new faces will also enter the fold with three sophomores and three freshmen, adding even more depth behind the well-seasoned junior and senior class of the Lady Norse program.
Keeping bodies fresh and improving daily remains a goal for Churchill- the former Northglenn student and goalie.
“We have a couple of freshmen that I think can come up and really earn her (Goddard’s) spot. The girls are super eager to come out and work because nothing is guaranteed. We have to take things game-by-game. We are super excited,” Churchill said. “They are really about earning it and wanting to set standards for themselves saying ‘hey, winning is not by accident, it’s by determination, hard work, and choice.’ We can’t take anything for granted.”
Northglenn looks to build off the momentum gathered last year, but take things to the next level in finding themselves not only claiming another conference title — but a deep playoff run.
“My expectation for them is to never be complacent, and I haven’t seen any of that in the offseason. I’m really excited to see what that group will do being such a wonderful unit. They understand each other, and they know they have to ready to go all out because next year’s not guaranteed - we do lose Lauren. These girls have the skill and the talent, and they got a taste for working hard, going that extra mile (last year). They don’t just want to repeat as champions. They want to go farther into the playoffs. This can be a special year, and as a coach, I think you should have a special year,” Churchill said. “Every step I want them to live with no regrets, that’s what they’re doing, so that’s why I think it will be a special season for us.”
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