It’s been a rough start for the Cheyenne Mountain High School girls’ soccer team, but as the 2019 season passes the halfway mark, the outlook is improving for the Indians.
A 4-1 victory over Discovery Canyon followed by 4-0 win over Falcon in mid-April gave Cheyenne its first two league victories of the year and upped its season record to 3-5.
“We have a lot of potential and a lot of talent,” said head coach Nikki Athey, who this year returned to the CMHS girls’ soccer program after a 10-year absence. She previously coached at Cheyenne from 1996 to 2004 as an assistant, then as the head coach from 2005 to 2008.
“I’m new to this team and they’re new to me,” she said, “so we’re getting to know one another. It’s been challenging, but when the team plays with intensity, they play really well.”
Helping with coaching responsibilities this year is assistant Alicia Tinsley.
Adding to the obstacles at the start of the season was a lack of practice time due to inclement weather prior to the opener against Broomfield, which Cheyenne lost by a 4-1 margin after having logged only one practice session. The Indians went on to drop games against Valor Christian, Classical Academy and Sand Creek before notching the first victory of the year against Pine Creek, a 2-1 win at the CMHS field with goals scored by senior Lisa Long and freshman Sydney Brewer.
As the season progresses, Cheyenne will continue to turn to its eight senior players for leadership, Athey said. Long and fellow seniors Marissa Dowlin and team co-captains Emma Hanson and Carly Fetters are four-year varsity players and are expected to shoulder the lion’s share of leadership. Other seniors on the roster are Macy Feign, Katy Darr, Acadia Haas and Camille Burroughs.
At the midway mark of the season, Long leads the team in scoring with five goals, followed by sophomore Sophia McConnell and Fetters with two each, and junior Taylor Brewer and Hanson with one apiece.
Athey has special praise for goalkeeper Ashley Bertsch, a junior who has recorded 11 saves. “She’s stepped up to play a really hard position,” Athey said.
Bertsch has shared goalkeeping responsibilities with sophomore Ari Betoni, who has collected nine saves.
Athey also had encouraging words for the team’s defensive line, which includes sophomore Zoe Vaughan, junior Caroline McCleary and seniors Feign and Darr.
“They’re a solid group, and they work well together,” Athey said.
Other players on the Indians’ roster are sophomores Breanne Raley, Sisika Farmiga, Caroline Johnson and junior Sarah Campbell.
In one of their most recent outings, the Indians posted a 4-1 victory over league opponent Discovery Canyon. McConnell scored twice, and Fetters and Hanson each contributed one goal. Fetters also recorded an assist, while Dowlin collected two assists. The Indians put up a strong defense, and goalkeeper Bertsch was called on to make only two saves.
Cheyenne followed that victory with a 4-0 shutout over Falcon. Long led the way with three goals, and Fetters scored once. The victory moved the Indians into fifth place in the 4A Pikes Peak League standings with a 2-2 record.
In the coming weeks, Cheyenne will be facing league opponents Palmer Ridge and Vista Ridge, and non-league foes Fossil Ridge and Rampart.
“We’re in a very strong league,” Athey said. “The competition is tough, and we don’t have any easy opponents.”
Despite the schedule and tough competition, Athey said she’s happy to have returned to coaching.
“It’s been a challenging transition but it’s also been a lot of fun,” she said.
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