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West Valley City Journal

Wolverines soccer players get needed experience

Oct 31, 2016 04:42PM ● By Greg James

The Wolverines soccer team celebrated its seniors during their final home game of the season. (Brett Solberg/Hunter soccer)

By Greg James | [email protected]

West Valley, Utah - The Hunter High School girls soccer team did not have the season they had hoped for, but the team’s goals included more than just winning.

“We have had a great group of girls our record does not give us credit for how good they really are. We play in a tough region and for them to battle the way they have it teaches us it is more than just winning. It is about sticking with it and persevering,” said Wolverines girls head coach Brett Solberg.

The Wolverines completed their season with a senior night tribute on Oct.6 with a 5-0 loss to Syracuse. They closed out their season with one victory and four ties. 

Sophomore Rylee Whetsel was the team’s leading scorer. She had four of the team’s 14 goals this season.

“As a sophomore and being our leading scorer is pretty cool. Goals did not come easy for us this season. She has made a lot of improvement,” Solberg said.

The Wolverines only victory came in a non-region game Aug. 20 against Ben Lomond 4-2. They scored three goals in the second half to pull away for the victory. 

“We had some younger first-year players that have made an impact. We also had some four-year players that have been great. I think we had a good combination of rookies and veteran players,” Solberg said.

Senior Melany Tello became an important midfielder for the Wolverines.

“She has done an excellent job of being physical with people. She has shut down our opponents. Our captains (Gabby Sainsbury, Jenny Ibarra, and Alexus Lovato) have been stellar. They are solid players and just continued this year being very good. They also improved at being leaders and encouraged the other players to improve,” Solberg said.

Solberg would like to see his team play more together in the offseason. Many players separate onto club teams and others do not play at all. 

“We need to find more opportunities for the girls to play. The more touches we can get the more we can improve. Playing together in the offseason can be important. The teams that are better play together all year round,” Solberg said.

Whetsel scored the school’s first goals against Layton and Viewmont this season. 

“I felt like we really improved a lot from last year. It has been a really good experience. Coach has really tried to keep us improving all season,” said Whetsel. “ I hope I can be a good player on this team. I do not feel any pressure. I am happy that other people see the work I have put in. I really want to be positive for my team.”

The Wolverines tied Granger, their rivals, twice this season, 2-2 and 0-0. The Wolverines managed three wins in both 2015 and 2014. 

“I thought we had a couple of games we really went beast mode on the turf. We are really trying to bond together and be more positive throughout the game,” Whetsel said.

Hunter finished in seventh place in Region 2, Granger was just ahead of them in sixth and West finished fifth. The top four teams qualified (Davis, Viewmont, Layton and Syracuse) for the state tournament. The tournament championship is scheduled for Oct. 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.