Snowed-out SpartansWinter-like weather has already cost SHS girls eight games
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The past month has been an unending April Fools’ joke for the Superior High School girls soccer team.
Half the season has passed, but the Spartans have yet to play a game.
“Mother Nature’s teasing us,” said Amber Holt, a senior captain. “All the snow melts and I go out to the fields and say, ‘There’s no snow. Maybe in a couple of days it will be dry enough to play.’ And then, boom.”
Superior’s latest attempt at playing a game was foiled Thursday evening.
The Spartans had hoped to bypass Mother Nature by scheduling their scrimmage with Spooner indoors at the UW-Superior Marcovich Wellness Center. Unfortunately for Superior, road conditions proved more important than field conditions Thursday.
The Spooner Rails got within about 50 miles of Superior before the slippery roads forced them to turn around and call off the game.
For Superior, it was the eighth postponement or cancellation of the season.
“This is it. This is the last storm we’re going to have,” said Len Albrecht, head coach of the Spartans. “I’m not saying we’re not going to have a flurry, but this is the last storm.”
Albrecht’s prediction came Thursday as snow piled up outside of the Marcovich Wellness Center. Superior received about a foot of snow from the storm, and another half a foot was predicted for Monday.
Thursday’s home game with Hayward has already been canceled, but today’s match-up with Osceola was still on as of Monday afternoon. The game was scheduled to be held in Superior, but both teams agreed to move to the artificial turf of Rice Lake.
“If it’s not snowing, we’ll be able to play,” Albrecht said. “That’s the rumor anyway; barring any blizzards.”
Today's game was canceled this morning after Superior and the rest of northwestern Wisconsin received a fresh covering of snow Monday night.
The Spartans will make another attempt at playing their first game on Saturday, when they'll head back to the artificial turf in Rice Lake to face the Warriors.
Superior’s first chance to host a game will come on April 30, when the team is scheduled to face Baldwin-Woodville at 4:30 p.m. Superior then starts the month of May with a streak of five home games — provided the weather cooperates.
“They’ve actually cancelled the first half of our season,” Albrecht said. “Anything we could get in would just be considered a scrimmage, and then our conference games would be the last half of the schedule.”
“It was really tough to hear that, especially so early on in the season,” said senior captain Kelsey Reder.
At this point last year, the Spartans had already played in nine games and held a 5-2 record in the Middle Border Conference.
Superior finished second in the Middle Border Conference in 2011 and third last year behind Spooner and Hayward. This season the Spartans had hoped to get off to a fast start and win their first ever conference title in girls soccer.
“This year was our ‘banner year,’” Holt said. “But this kind of shoots that in the dirt.”
“The only good part about it is that we get the whole first half of the season to perfect everything,” Reder said. “That’s about it.”
Superior lost 11 players from last year’s team, seven of them seniors. Included among the 2012 graduates were Middle Border Conference All-Conference first-team selections Catie Albrecht and Kelsey Hansen.
Holt, also named to the first team, is the only all-conference player returning from last season. She is expected to be Superior’s lead scorer at forward.
In goal, Albrecht said, senior Sara Balcer has the potential to be all-conference this year.
Senior captain Nicole Mattson and junior Bridget Manion return at midfield along with five other juniors and seniors. Rachel Dixon, a sophomore, also joins the midfielders for her first year with the Spartans.
On defense, the Spartans welcome a number of younger players. Reder will take on a crucial leadership role, and junior Jaydeen Anderson will be an anchor for the defense, Albrecht said.
“We’re a little younger than last year, but we lost a lot of key players from last year,” Albrecht said. “We have two freshmen who are probably going to start on defense. There’s going to be a learning curve in the beginning because of the inexperience, but I think by the end it’s going to pay off.”
Superior is also rolling out a new defense this season. Instead of a diamond defense the Spartans will play a flat four zone. The flat four requires more speed and communication between the players, but Superior has been practicing every day for more than a month.
“Normally we don’t have much time to practice it because it’s really hard to perfect,” Reder said. “But since we’ve been inside it’s really easy to practice that. That’s one of the biggest benefits.”
One of the downsides is the monotony of practicing indoors every day.
The Spartans began practice on March 18. As of Monday, they were still waiting to play on grass for the first time.
“I had a talk with the girls a couple of weeks ago because it’s hard to keep focused when you’re inside,” Holt said. “I told them to keep focused because eventually we will play outside. Every other team in our conference right now is dealing with the same problems. … If we make the most of our practice time, when we finally do get to go outside we’ll be a step ahead of the game.”
But some aspects of the game just can’t be replicated in the confined space of the high school or middle school gym. The hardwood floors don’t compare to soft, green grass, and the space is too small to give players the feeling of a real game situation.
“You can sense the frustration even in the players,” Albrecht said. “They want to be outside. Anybody would rather be outside playing than having to always play inside.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Holt wasn’t optimistic that the Spartans would play on real grass this week, but she did offer one hopeful prediction. “Before April is over, we will play a game outside,” Holt said. … To bolster team morale during the recent series of snow storms, Albrecht and junior varsity coach Val Golden have tried to plan fun events for the team. The coaches’ last attempt came on April 11. “What happened was we were going to run to Dairy Queen and I was going to get Dilly Bars,” Albrecht said. “Have them run to Dairy Queen, get the Dilly Bars and jog back. We got snowed out. It got cancelled because of snow — that blizzard (on April 11).”
SHS Varsity Roster
3. Bridget Manion Jr. Mid
6. Anna Lurndal Jr. Mid
10. Lorena Lane Fr. Mid
12. Madison Plunkett Fr. Defense
14. Jaydeen Anderson Jr. Defense
15. Nicole Mattson Sr. Mid
16. Sage Olson Fr. Defense
18. Rachel Dixon So. Mid
20. Becca Tunell Jr. Mid
21. Missy Toland Sr. Mid
22. Kelsey Reder Sr. Defense
26. Devyn Moss Fr. Forward
29. Amber Holt Sr. Forward
30. Rawia Maamoan Jr. Mid
32. Ashlyn Meys Jr. Mid
38. Tina Lurndal Jr. Forward
42. Cassie Hanson Sr. Forward
GK. Sara Balcer Sr. Goalkeeper
Junior Varsity Roster
Liz Gonzer, Macey Huwaish, Kristina Manion, Taylen Snyder, Jade Jensen, Paulina Roemer, Isabella Evavold, Julianna Erickson, Jessie Elllis, Kristina Princl, Hallie Mackie, Camber Nelson, Kjersten Lisak, Savannah Berthiaume, Brooklyn Pollock, Hannah Toland, Megan Tunell, Breeanna Posnek, Brandi Smith.
Varsity coach: Len Albrecht
Junior varsity coach: Val Golden
Manager: Jarret Byrnes, Cody Anderson, Noah Peterson, Nikki Hansen
2012 Girls Soccer Schedule
Sat., March 30 CF/ECN Quad (ppd)
Tue., April 2 at Amery (ppd)
Thur., April 4 at Somerset (ppd)
Tue., April 9 at New Richmond (ppd)
Thur., April 11 at Barron (ppd)
Fri., April 12 at Bald-Woodville (ppd)
Tue., April 16 at Ashland (ppd)
Thur., April 18 vs. Spooner (ppd)
Tue., April 23 vs. Osceola (at RL), 6 p.m.
Thur., April 25 vs. Hayward (ppd)
Sat., April 27 at Rice Lake, 10:30 a.m.
Tue., April 30 vs. B-W, 4:30 p.m.
Thur., May 2 vs. Amery, 4:30 p.m.
Tue., May 7 vs. Somerset, 4:30 p.m.
Thur., May 9 vs. New Rich., 4:30 p.m.
Tue., May 14 vs. Barron, 4:30 p.m.
Fri., May 17 vs. Rice Lake, 4:30 p.m.
Tue., May 21 at Spooner, 4:30 p.m.
Thur., May 23 at Osceola, 4:30 p.m.
Fri., May 24 vs. Ashland, 4:30 p.m.
Tue., May 28 at Hayward, 4:30 p.m.
May 30-June 1 WIAA Regionals
June 6-8 WIAA Sectionals
June 13-15 State at Milwaukee