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West Valley City Journal

Wolverines incorporate ice baths into unusual spring season

Jun 06, 2023 01:12PM ● By Greg James

For the Hunter High School boys soccer team, the spring season was one of ups and downs. Unpredictable spring weather necessitated many changes to the schedule and routines, but the team's efforts paid off by advancing in the playoffs and strengthening them.

“I feel like it has been a good season,” boys soccer head coach Brett Solberg said. “This year has been one of the craziest springs I have seen while I have been coaching. It is not quite where we wanted to be, but overall it has been a good year.”

The spring snow and rain storms forced the Wolverines to hold tryouts indoors and cancel or reschedule several matches.

“Trying to gauge a player's abilities on a basketball gymnasium is tough. The team selection was a little tricky but I think we made good decisions. We had one week where we played three games. That led to some tired legs. It was our first season to do ice baths. Maybe it was just a mind game, but I think it helped,” Solberg said. 

Ice baths can relieve sore muscles and aid in exercise recovery.

“We had a tub in the training room that we had never used. After two games we decided to give it a shot,” Solberg said.

The team found a routine that worked best for them and the various treatments paid off in the long run.

To open the season the Wolverines traveled to St. George and played in a mini tournament. The trip produced a win, loss and a tie, but got them ready to return for its Region 2 games. 

Hunter placed third in its region with an 8-4 record. The season included a tie and win over Granger, its crosstown rival.

The Wolverines finished ranked 16th by the UHSAA ratings index. That seed matched them up with 17th seed Westlake in the first round of the state playoffs. 

The state tournament match proved to be a close one. It was decided in double overtime with a golden goal (a goal that ends the game) by Ceasar Arellano Rodriguez.

“This season our offense has not scored a lot of goals and that has been unusual for our teams. When other teams look at us they are never sure who to focus on because we have been so well rounded. We had multiple players that were a threat,” Solberg said.

Jonathan Hernandez Alverez led the team with four goals. Michael Martinez and Adan Almaraz each had three goals.

“Michael (Martinez) is a freshman and he scored golden goals against Granger and Cyprus. He has the energy and ability to create those dangerous opportunities. Our goalie Ariel Martinez has been a standout. He is very skilled and kept us in games,” Solberg said.

As a junior, Martinez had five shutouts this season.

“We come from a region that a lot of the state looks down on. We really want to go out and represent, show up, compete and play. Every game we have is going to be a battle. I think the state tournament gives us a chance to play our game,” Solberg said.

Hunter would take No. 1 seed Lone Peak to overtime, even leading 1-0 at half, before losing in a similar fashion to how it won the first round, a golden goal losing 3-2.

The team scheduled its alumni game for after the season. A tradition they hope to continue.

“It is great to highlight players that have gone on to have success. Hopefully, that gives younger players the motivation to set goals,” Solberg said.

This season boys soccer teams have had to be on their best behavior. In a stand against poor sportsmanship the UHSAA placed all boys soccer teams on probation for the next two years. Coaches have questioned the accuracy of the decision, but because of it teams are forced to play two less games.

“It is a three year probation, and as far as I know the sport has not shown the improvement the UHSAA wanted to see,” Solberg said. “A reduction in red cards seems to be the gauge and many coaches think that is not a fair standard because red cards are not all about sportsmanship. We have done our best to make playing at Hunter a positive experience for these players.” λ