Beetdiggers hope to make noise in region soccer
Oct 04, 2017 02:00PM
● By Ron Bevan
Junior goalkeeper Erika Oldham protects the net for the Jordan girls soccer team this season. Oldham was in the net for all of her sophomore season and most of her freshman as well. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)
All the signs are against them. They are too young. The teams are too strong in the region.
None of that matters to the Jordan Beetdiggers girls soccer team. All that matters is playing their best on any given day. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
“We know we are in the region of death,” Jordan soccer coach Marli Martin said, using a World Cup soccer reference. “But if we step up and play to our ability we can compete in this region.”
Martin is referring to the recently realigned 5A Region 7. The region includes soccer powerhouses Brighton and Alta along with upcoming Corner Canyon. The trio, along with Jordan, makes the region tough to pick out a favored team. Since only three teams advance to the state playoffs, one good team will be sitting at home watching and wishing a bounce had gone their way.
“There is no Goliath, we are all good,” Martin said. “Everyone is beating everyone, so it may come down to the last week of soccer.”
Indeed, Brighton, Alta and Jordan have numerous state titles under their belts. The only team midway through the season without a region loss is Corner Canyon, a newcomer of sorts to top-tier soccer. Alta has managed to beat Brighton but dropped its first game to Jordan.
“It was a huge win for us to beat Alta,” Martin said. “They are such a great school and our cross-town rivals. We went in wanting to do each job individually and as a team. We wanted to win the 50/50 balls.”
The Beetdiggers shut out Alta in the Aug. 31 contest, 2-0.
“It was the funnest game I have ever coached,” Martin said. “Every tackle my girls made, every touch they got seemed to make them more enlightened. Hands down the girls deserved that win more than any other.”
But the excitement of beating Alta may have played a part in the next week’s 6-1 loss to Corner Canyon.
“A huge win like we had with Alta can either help or hurt a team,” Martin said. “I think we just got too relaxed thinking Corner Canyon wasn’t as good as Alta.”
Jordan is relying on a very young soccer team this season. There are only five seniors on the squad, with only two getting significant playing time.
“My big players are all very young this year,” Martin said.
Jordan relies on junior Erika Oldham to protect the net as goalkeeper. Oldham is in her third season as a varsity goalkeeper. She recorded four shutouts last season and already has half that mark this year.
“She is very impactful to our game,” Martin said. “She is a huge piece to our puzzle.”
Sophomores Kailey Brecke and Kaiya Jefferson lead the scoring attack for the Beetdiggers. Although young, both have posted several goals for Jordan this season.
“Brecke is a spitfire,” Martin said. “She is the type of girl that goes full throttle the entire game. She is dangerous in our attacking third of the field.”
Karlei Monson is one of the defenders Jordan calls on to help stop opposing attackers. Although just a freshman, Monson sees more minutes each game than all other players except the goalkeeper.
“I don’t think she has sat down for more than a few minutes all year,” Martin said of Monson. “She may be young and not the biggest defender, but she reads the game very well and protects the back line.”
The seniors on the team are Anna Jensen, Gabby Davis, Lena Lindsay, Nicole Freestone and Bryanna Miller. Davis and Lindsay see the most playing time of the seniors, but all are an important part of the team, according to Martin.