A Season To Remember: A Look at Girls’ Soccer in 2019

Riley Cluxton, Senior Reporter

Caileen Sienknecht (12) and Ava Spangler (12) are two of the three Varsity Team Captains for the 2019 season. This is Spangler’s second year as a captain, and she’s been starting Varsity soccer since her freshman year. Captains and seniors have many more responsibilities than underclassmen, such as organizing pre-season, indoor games and tying the team together.

Riley Cluxton is another senior player and expects to be on the Junior Varsity team. “This is my third year playing soccer, and Manitou has been my favorite place to play. I feel like the team last year gave me a lot of room to grow,” Cluxton said. 

Friendship seems to be a large factor within the team, and most of the team members have known each other throughout middle school and even elementary school. “I am very thankful for all the people I get to play with and the coaches that are there to teach me lessons that I can carry with me for the rest of my life. Manitou Soccer has taught me the value of a team and how important it is to work together. It has also taught me many lessons beyond the game of soccer and I am forever grateful for that,” said Sienknecht.

Manitou has substantial and active soccer roots. From elementary school through middle school the principles and ethics of soccer are taught to kids who are eager to participate. “The girls’ soccer program not only runs summer camps for kids ages 5-13, but we also have a middle school soccer program that develops players who want to play at the high school level. The team is very inclusive and we do lots of team activities in order to include the freshmen,” said Spangler.

This year, the team is expected to perform strongly, as last year they won most of their games; Varsity’s only outmatched opponents being Jefferson Academy and St. Mary’s, only losing by one both game. They averaged 5.9 goals per match and had 38 saves overall by their previous goalkeeper. The Mustangs got into the playoffs last year but were eliminated after a loss against Kent Denver. 

This year is looking just as good for the girls, and they are starting with a solid foundation. Pre-season started in early February and has a different format than the regular season. “It helps players get in shape and get touches on the ball,” Spangler said. On Thursday and Friday, there are captain led practices in the big gym. 

The season doesn’t officially start until February 25th, though. “We haven’t decided teams yet, but we have 12 graduating seniors this year. There will be about 20 [players] on varsity,” Spangler said. The first week of the Spring season– infamously known as “Hell Week”– includes a run in the Garden of the Gods, mounting the incline, completing a pacer test, a two-mile run and much more.

Despite the grueling first week, excitement is high for this season. “I’m looking forward to playing with all of my closest friends for one more season,” Sienknecht said. 

The team’s two biggest anticipated competitors this year will be Colorado Springs Christian School (CSCS) and St. Mary’s. With their positive mindset and hard work, though, the captains and players alike will agree that this season will be a memorable one.