The Herald Journal – Katie Call (4A Player of the Year) & 13 Infinity SC Players earn All Valley Team honors

 Infinity SC wants to thank the 14 girls and the other 42 girls that represented Infinity SC as they played for their respected high schools this Fall!


PLAYER OF THE YEAR


Kaitlin Call, Preston, Sr.

Infinity SC u17 Premier Girls, Coached by Travis Baxter

Without question, Katie Call is one of the best soccer players in Preston history.

After all, not many high school players end their careers as four-year starters at the center back position.

However, Call’s impact on the Preston girls soccer program cannot solely be measured by how many matches she started or how skilled a player she was. Simply put, the daughter of Kristal and Steve Call was the driving force behind the Indians’ transformation into a solid defensive side, and that makes her arguably the most “influential” player in school history, head coach Brandon Lyon said.

“We can battle with these high-level 4A teams because we can defensively stay in the game,” Lyon said. “And we haven’t been able to do that, this program, in the past. And so you cannot overstate what Katie has meant defensively to this program.”

With Call anchoring the backline, the Indians won what is believed to be a school record 14 matches in 2012. Preston capped off its most successful season in program history with a 2-1 overtime victory over Wood River for the fifth-place trophy at the eight-team 4A State Championships.

The Indians scored a lot of goals this season, but also posted nine shutouts in 20 matches. In several games, Call was joined on the backline by a trio of freshmen, which makes Preston’s defensive success all the more noteworthy.

“How she brought that unit together was actually pretty remarkable,” Lyon said of Call.

Call’s ability and drive to lead Preston’s inexperienced backline into uncharted territory — the Indians made their first-ever appearance in the 4A tourney after nine seasons of trying — was the biggest reason she was selected as The Herald Journal All-Valley Player of the Year.

The senior is the first-ever Preston soccer player — girl or boy — to receive this award.

“I’m so grateful to have this award, but I really couldn’t be here without my team, so I’d like to thank my team and all my coaches for this because they really did bring me here,” Call said. “And it just makes me feel like all the hard work has paid off in the end.”

This was Lyon’s first year at the helm, but he was the school’s head boys coach for nine seasons. Therefore, Lyon has also been very familiar with the girls program, and he firmly believes Call is the program’s best defender of all-time.

The Indians first started playing soccer in 2000.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt (she’s the best) when you combine skill wise what she’s capable of, how she can read a game, see a game,” Lyon said. “And maybe the biggest thing that puts her over the top is I don’t know if I’ve ever been around somebody that is as big of a competitor as Katie.”

Lyon went on to say Call is even ultra competitive in simple practice drills, and No. 9 certainly didn’t deny her competitive nature.

“If you ask any of the freshman girls, they’ll tell you that they’re scared of me, because I’m very controlling on the backline,” Call said with a laugh. “I pretty much take control of everything. I tell them where they should be and if they don’t get there than they keep hearing from me. And then I taught them the shapes and the shifting of defenses, so then they understood for themselves where they’re supposed to be, what they’re supposed to be doing and how to cover and balance each other.”

Not only was Call one of 4A’s top defenders this season, she was also one of the state’s most dangerous players when it came to set pieces. Call showcased this ability as a freshman when she scored a free kick goal against Pocatello, and the Indians were very dangerous when No. 9 stood over the ball this year.

In fact, Call was a bit unlucky not to score a handful of free kick goals in 2012. For starters, in a district match against Bonneville, Call pinged a pair of free kicks off the crossbar. Lyon said there was a three- or four-game stretch this season in which Call fired at least one shot off the woodwork.

Call, a four-time all-valley selection, finally broke through with a free kick goal against eventual 4A runner-up Century in the district tournament. It was Call’s only goal of the campaign, but she assisted on four others.

“Even in practice, I would hit the crossbar like 94 times,” Call said. “It was so, so frustrating, and so then when I finally got one on Century, on a team that actually was (really good), I was so ecstatic.”

Ecstatic is also a word Call used to describe her senior season. The Preston native insisted she never thought this season would turn out this well for the Indians.

“I think the biggest key to our breakthrough would have to be our hard work,” said Call, who made it a point to praise the team’s other senior leaders. “Like I said before, we put so many hours into this. … And we also had coach Lyon there (and) he was telling us, ‘You guys need to focus, you need to do this.’ I just think it was our mentality. Really, I think Lyon made us believe that we could win.”

Call has also enjoyed plenty of success as a sweeper for her club (Infinity u17 Premier Girls) team. Call has played for her uncle, Travis Baxter, for the last five years, and her Infinity side has fared very well at the Utah State Cup level a couple times. Two years ago, Call’s team won the Mayor’s Cup International Showcase in Las Vegas.

Call, who made it a point to praise Lyon and Baxter, has aspirations of playing at the next level, preferably at national junior college power Iowa Western. Call plans on trying out for the Reivers in the near future and is also looking at a couple other colleges.

Regardless of what happens in the future, Call will always look back at her time in Preston with much joy.

“I love the girls (at Preston),” Call said. “You make so many memories, like I don’t even know which ones to say because there’s so many. … I just love my team; they’re the ones who really made the whole season for me.”


Becca Godfrey, Logan, Jr.

Infinity SC u16 Premier Girls, Coached by Sherri Dever

This speedy defender was also one of Logan’s best players in transitioning from defense to offense, much to the delight of Peterson.

“I can’t diminish any of the other (defenders), but Becca was a team captain and she was a positive, focused, determined leader on the field, on and off the field,” Peterson said. “… And we’d put her at striker at times to get that burst of speed and that shot making. For her small size, you kind of don’t think it would be that way, but she’s an incredible player.”

Godfrey’s one goal this season was a huge one in a double overtime victory over Mountain Crest.

One of No. 15’s best attributes, Peterson said, was her ability to mentally and physically bounce back when the Grizzlies had a shaky game defensively. Godfrey also earned the praise of Peterson for making life difficult for Box Elder star forward Lana Willard.


Tierra Shaffer, Sky View, Jr.

Infinity SC u17 Premier Girls, Coached by Travis Baxter 

When Danica Hansen graduated, the Bobcats needed someone to take command of their backline, and Shaffer was that player.

“She’s just the perfect player in the perfect spot,” SV head coach Doyle Geddes said. “She is just a born stopper, somebody that’s just got a lot of grit and attitude, and then the physical gifts to play that particular spot on the field. And she was essential to our success because she knew how to keep the ball in front of her, and she knew how to read balls and win them, so she was just difficult to get by.”

Shaffer, last year’s HJ Newcomer of the Year, is beginning to learn how to “make runs (in the attack), which I’m really excited for, for next year,” Geddes said. Doyle expects No. 6 to be more of a playmaker as a senior.

The junior only scored one goal this season, but it was a big one — an equalizer against Timpview in the 4A playoffs.


Abby Veibell, Sky View, Jr.

Infinity SC u17 Premier Girl, Coached by Travis Baxter 

This junior spent last season recovering from a knee injury and, needless to say, Geddes was grateful to have her back in ’12.

“We’ve had a history of great sweepers at Sky View, I think, and we look for the player at that spot and we look to groom them because my whole system is really dependent on a player fulfilling that role, and I think Abby just did an amazing job as our sweeper this year,” Geddes said.

Geddes is looking forward to next season with the return of Veibell and Shaffer, and even joked that his backline will be so solid his team can make due without a keeper.

“She may not possess the speed that we’ve had in that position in the past, but she certainly has the smarts, so she makes really great reads on when to leave that position and when to hold ground,” Geddes said of Veibell. “She is just a super intelligent player back there.”

Tess Hobbs, Preston, Jr.

Infinity SC u17 Premier Girl, Coached by Travis Baxter 

This talented junior missed a handful of matches with a painful hip injury and also entered the season still recovering from a torn MCL in her right knee.

Nevertheless, Hobbs was still able to score four goals and six assists because she is, as Lyon put it, “a special talent.”

“I wouldn’t hesitate to say that, relative to gender, she’s the most talented player I’ve ever coached,” Hobbs said. “I mean, I’ve had some great, talented boys, but relative to their gender she’s the most talented player I’ve coached. She’s got so much ability and I don’t think she’s even scratched what she could become. Her physical strengths are off the charts.”

No. 2 was Preston’s starting left back, but Lyon gave her a wealth of freedom to push forward in the attack. Simply put, Hobbs made so many overlapping runs, she was “basically a wing,” Lyon said.

“She has one of the most lethal left foots I’ve seen,” said Lyon, who is convinced Hobbs would “dominate” at any position on the pitch.

Annie Nalder, Mtn. Crest, Sr.

Infinity SC u17 Premier Girl, Coached by Travis Baxter 

Nalder wasn’t able to finish nearly as well as she did a year ago, but she was more of a playmaker out of the midfield for the Mustangs as a senior.

“She worked hard this year, but I think probably the biggest thing about her was she had an ability to kind of read the field and distribute things out,” Giles said. “And she also had one heck of a hard kick.”

No. 3 only found the back of the net once in ’12, down from four goals a season ago, but tied for the team lead with four assists. Nalder also showcased a competitive drive this season that Giles really appreciated.

“Sometimes a player would get her and then she’d get mad and go after them even harder, so she did really well that way,” Giles said.

Carly Richins, Mtn. Crest, So.

Infinity SC u16 Premier Girl, Coached by Sherri Dever

When Richins was on top of her game, she was a big difference maker for Mountain Crest in the attack.

“Carly has that ability (to be a game changer),” Giles said. “She plays with the ball a lot and she’s gotten really good at it with fast footwork. I mean, she can move the ball and get away from people, juke them and fake them out. … And she can pass the ball pretty well and she’s got a pretty good kick on them.”

No. 6 tied for the team lead in assists with four. Three of those assists were recorded in a 4-1 road blowout of Roy.

Giles is hopeful and confident Richins will improve on her decision making next season. Sometimes Richins would attempt shots from too far out, yet wouldn’t pull the trigger quick enough when she had the ball at her feet inside the box. However, she did create a lot of dangerous scoring opportunities for the Mustangs.

McKenley Hellstern, Sky View, Sr.

Infinity SC u17 Premier Girl, Coached by Travis Baxter 

This senior was asked to elevate her level of play when star midfielder Jessica Brooksby blew out her knee in Sky View’s season opener, and Geddes felt Hellstern did just that.

“She was just a great captain and her greatest field attribute is that she’s a calming influence,” Geddes said. “She just knows how to settle a ball and try to get other people around her to stay calm and collected, which out of a central midfielder, that’s the perfect virtue.”

No. 16 tied for the team lead with six goals — all in different matches — and led the Bobcats with three assists. Hellstern, who combined very well with forward Madie Siddoway, had one goal and two assists in a win over Roy.

“I’ve always believed that skill finds its level, and when you’re playing at the level McKenley and Madie are, they look for each other,” Geddes said. “And they both have a great knowledge of the way the game works, so they were able to play off of each other really well.”

Honorable Mention

Logan
Caitlin McCuskey, Jr. –  Infinity SC u17 Premier Girl, Coached by Travis Baxter 

Mountain Crest
Lacey VanYperen, Jr. – Infinity SC u17 Premier Girls, Coached by Travis Baxter


Annalee Davidson, So. -Infinity SC u16 Premier Girls, Coached by Sherri Dever 

Sky View

Jordyn Brown, So. -Infinity SC u16 Premier Girls, Coached by Sherri Dever 

Kylee Villanueva, Jr. -Infinity SC u17 Premier Girls, Coached by Travis Baxter


Kilee Lamb, So. -Infinity SC u16 Premier Girls, Coached by Sherri Dever

 The Herald Journal Artilce by Jason Turner
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