San Juan girls soccer team is battling hard and gaining experience

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
Through the first three games of the season the San Juan High School girls soccer team is still looking for their first victory, but they’re battling hard and gaining experience as they go.
In their season opener at Parowan on August 22 the Lady Broncos suffered an 11-0 loss. They fell to Beaver at home 6-0 on August 24.
In their most recent game on August 31 San Juan scored the opening goal against South Sevier, but the Lady Rams rallied to score twice in the second half and down them 2-1.
The Lady Broncos are ranked 14th in the Utah High School Activities Association 2A RPI standings with their 0-3 record.
On Tuesday, September 12 they hosted local rival Grand County, who were 2-1 on the season coming into the match. San Juan will travel to take on Beaver this coming Tuesday, September 19.
First-year head coach of the Lady Broncos, Courtney Hurst, recently responded to several questions about her experience as a head coach, her team, and the season. Here is our conversation:
Rhett Sifford: With this being your first year as head coach of the girls soccer team, can you talk a little bit about the experience so far?
Courtney Hurst: Being head coach so far has been an amazing experience. I may have come in a little bit late, but the support from the players, community, and parents made getting the team ready for the season a lot easier.
RS: What are your thoughts about the team in general so far?
CH: We definitely have a young team. Out of the 20 girls on the roster 11 are freshmen. On top of that we have quite a few players who have never played high school soccer before. But they all have a willing attitude and are striving to learn and improve.
RS: What are you seeing from the team in the first games of the season?
CH: Even with the games we have lost, they don’t get defeated. Our first away game we lost, but the team got back on the bus as though we had won. They are quick to make corrections at practice and during a game, and by the end of the season we will be seeing lots of improvement.
RS: Have any players surprised you with their growth and performance since last year?
CH: I am super impressed with the talent of some of the freshmen. Some of them have that innate skill that is hard to teach. The seniors are leading the team and setting the example of the culture we want to have.
RS: What leaders are stepping up early on?
CH: Our captains, Jadee Ruiz, Esabell Beunaventura, and Ry Grover love the team so much. They want us to succeed and improve and they show up for their team with the skill and leadership we need.
RS: Are there any strong young athletes coming up?
CH: I need to give a shout-out to our new goalkeeper Colee Crofts. She has been amazing so far and she is only going to get better. She works hard on and off the field and it’s paying off. She is gaining confidence with every game and I am excited to see where she will be at the end of the season.
RS: Despite your inexperience, where are your strengths this year?
CH: One of our main strengths is our unbreakable spirit. No matter the score the girls have a positive attitude. Another is that the girls are like sponges. They absorb everything we teach them in practice and execute it in the games. As a coach that’s what you love to see.
RS: In what areas might you need work?
CH: Especially as a young team we need work on all areas of the field, but the girls are eager to improve and they keep showing up to learn more and become better.
RS: How do you stack up against region and state competition this year?
CH: We definitely the underdogs with a fairly new program and a lot of new girls.
RS: What do you hope to accomplish as a team this season?
CH: What we really want to accomplish is to establish a strong soccer program here in Blanding. We want the girls to know we are here for them, and if they keep coming we will be here to help teach them soccer and we will keep getting better and better.

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