Thunder Mountain High School’s four seniors celebrated the end of their high school soccer careers Saturday during a 2-0 loss to Juneau-Douglas High School. Seniors Rylee Landen and Amber White scored the goals for JDHS.
The Falcons girls played a much better game than their Friday-night 8-0 loss and ended the year looking like an improved squad. The girls made strides in a rebuilding year after three successful years which brought them two conference championships.
TMHS graduated four seniors from the team this year: Madison Polley, Abbey DeRocher, Tiana Tuber and Rebecka JoAnne Miller.
The senior girls leave a self-described “quirky” team, who will always be known for cheering each other on through the hard times and the good.
“It sounds cliche, but it’s basically a second family,” DeRocher said.
“Today was really hard, I was crying before the game. It’s our last one in high school,” Huber said.
The group has been a part of the Falcons most important moment as a soccer team: their freshman-year win over JDHS.
“That was crazy. It was so much fun,” Polley said. “I just remember crazy emotions. People were crying they were so happy.”
TMHS beat JDHS all four times they played them in 2013 and won the Southeast conference title. The Falcons went undefeated in conference play in 2014 with six wins and two ties. Last year the conference title came down to the last game between JDHS and TMHS, which JDHS happened to win with two late goals.
The Falcons seniors are proud to be a part of the group that helped the program grow.
“Our team is always going to go through those growing stages, and it just has to get to that point where you’re that set team and you dominate. There are those years where you lose players and you gain players and you just have to start fresh,” Polley said.
A big part of the team’s improvement has been their coaching staff.
“John (Newell, assistant coach) was a really nice addition to the team this year. We’ve been learning through his pointers. I was coached by him when I was younger, but he’s a great mentor,” Huber said.
“It’s a bummer we only had John for one year,” DeRocher added
“Kris (Coffee, head coach) is my second mom, she’s great,” Polley said.
“Josh Odum was my one-on-one coach last year as a goalkeeper, and I would not have learned the position if it wasn’t for him,” Huber said.
DeRocher credits soccer with making her high school career worthwhile. She will attend Wyoming University next year to study sociology.
Miller will attend Northern Michigan University next year to study political science and economics.
Huber will continue playing soccer in college for an intramural team, though she didn’t specify where.
Polley couldn’t play in the senior night game because of a concussion she suffered in the Falcon’s Friday night game against JDHS, but she was out there for the opening kickoff. The Falcons refer to Polley as the team “mom,” a distinction she said she’s honored by and will miss greatly when she attends school at Linfield College in Oregon next year to study nursing in hopes of becoming a midwife.