Wolverines soccer off to great startOct 06, 2017 12:20PM ● By Greg James
The girls of the Hunter soccer team gather together post game to discuss their overtime victory over Granger. (Caitlyn Morris/Hunter yearbook)
Enthusiasm for girls soccer at Hunter High School has increased enormously. Winning on the pitch has only helped.
“My girls should get all of the credit. They are certainly playing better soccer,” Hunter Head Coach Bret Solberg said.
The Wolverines started their 2017 preseason winning two of their first five games, an abnormality at Hunter High School; last season the team only secured one victory the entire year, the year before that they won only three matches.
“The way our team is playing they should be state champs, no doubt,” Kolbie James, a casual soccer fan supporting her school at a home game concluded.
While their fans are dreaming of mansions on the hill, the team knows it is in the small steps that they can accomplish great things. A state championship is a goal, but their reality is that any win is an improvement.
This season’s team had some underclassman mixed with veteran experience. The mixture of the young exuberance and solid skill is what is making this season special according to Solberg.
“These are the cutest, nicest girls, and I cheer extra loud for them,” said Sara Harding, a soccer mom.
Cheering loud must be the key that makes this team click. After defeating West Jordan 3-0 and Ben Lomond 5-0 in preseason, the winning continued. Region games began and they defeated Granger 2-1, then Cyprus 2-0 and finally Kearns 8-0. The momentum continued to build.
In its first game against Granger, Hunter jumped out to an early one goal lead. Granger fought back and tied it late in the second half. In overtime Hunter was able to put in the decisive goal to take the victory. In similar fashion they scored two goals back-to-back against Cyprus for the win. In the match against Kearns they poured in six goals in the first half to cruise to the win.
“The new region alignment has made a difference to us. We play some of our close rivals now. The girls have bonded well and are playing the ball very well,” Solberg said.
In eight matches junior Rylee Whetsel leads the team with nine goals; including two hat tricks (three goals in a match) against Kearns and Ben Lomond.
Whetsel is not doing it alone. Freshman Olivia Harding and Bailey Spring have netted three goals apiece so far this season.
In goal, keepers Bianca Cuevas and Britton Pike have split duties. Both girls have notched shutouts.
The Wolverines defense is allowing only 1.1 goals per game and the offense is generating 2.6 goals per game.
All the commotion is very exciting to the team and school. Hunter has not appeared in the state tournament since 2013 when they lost in the first round to Alta 8-0. A return trip would be important to the growth of the program.
The Wolverines final regular season match is scheduled for Oct. 2 at Hunter High School beginning at 7 p.m.
The Utah High School Activities Association realigned its member schools. Hunter is still a member of Region 2 and will compete against Cyprus, Granger, Kearns and Hillcrest.
The state soccer tournament is scheduled to begin Oct. 10.