GVS concludes memorable season


Ali Browne

SPARTAN PRIDE. Captains Maryeva Gonzalez, Heidi Deuel and Lindsay Browne join head coach in Aileen Guiney in displaying the trophy to their fans.

GVS’s historic season came to a close last Friday in the class A state championships. The Spartans fell 2-3 against St. Anthony Village, but regardless of the end score, the team fought until the last second.

Starting off the game, goalie Lindsay Browne faced a penalty kick in the first two minutes, setting up the Huskies for an early 1-0 lead. Still, having handled penalty kicks many times in her career and even in the semi-final only days before, Browne didn’t let the shot faze her and continued to play calmly, helping her make crucial saves later in the game.

Though initially discouraged, the Spartans kept their heads up in the rest of the half and battled to neutralize breakaways and keep the Huskies’ skilled offense at bay. Despite getting many shots of their own from forward Sawyer Bollinger Danielson and midfielder Lucia Gonzalez, the Spartans were unable to score in the first half. Still, they were successful in preventing the Huskies from deepening their lead.

The defensive line of Aurelia Meza, Heidi Deuel, and Annie Zhang faced high pressure throughout the game, requiring them to play aggressively and maintain a high level of communication. The Spartan midfielders also had to connect passes quickly in the middle to combat the speed and defensive strength of the Huskies, with Maryeva and Lucia Gonzalez playing a large role in getting the ball away from traffic in the middle of the field.

Unfortunately, disorganization at key points in the game resulted in two more goals for the Huskies. When the Huskies were still leading 2-0, however, Bollinger Danielson sent a ball through multiple defenders and into the lower left corner of the goal from the far side of the field. With 27 minutes left in the game, her goal greatly lifted morale, showing the Spartans that they were still in it.

As the Spartans continued to push for breakaways and offensive attacks, they kept the ball in their opponent’s half. Off of a corner kick by Bollinger Danielson, Maryeva Gonzalez got the Spartans their second goal with a header. In the final minutes remaining, the team kept up the intensity and shot multiple times to build on the momentum of Gonzalez’s goal, pushing their hardest to get just one more to tie up the score. Unfortunately, the Huskie defense stayed strong.

Though the outcome was not what they had hoped for, the Spartans left it all on the field and walked away with pride in their outstanding season.

“I don’t think any of us at the beginning of the season expected to make it this far, but I am so proud of everyone and the growth we had. I think my mindset going into the game last night was to leave everything I had out on the field and do it for our seniors, and that’s exactly what we did,” Meza said.

Culminating in the team reaching the state championships for the first time since 2004, the Spartans have shown significant growth in recent years. This season alone, the Spartans were underdogs in many key matchups and were able to come up on top, including in the section final against Minnehaha Academy, who they lost to in the section semi-final last year and twice earlier this fall. The current seniors also started their freshman year on the team with a record of 5-12-0 and are ending the 2022 season with an impressive final record of 11-6-3.

“Coming into girls varsity soccer as an 8th grader and struggling through years of our team being not quite good enough, to finally proving ourselves [this season] and even going to the state championship was a surreal experience,” Deuel said.

This is the start of a fun chapter for SPA soccer.

— Aileen Guiney

Though they may not have emerged as state champions, the team and new coaching staff have set a precedent for an exciting future for the girls soccer program

“I’m thrilled with our season. To go to the state finals and represent SPA was amazing fun. This is my first year as the SPA coach […] we have a great team, with a lot of young talent, so this is the start of a fun chapter for SPA soccer, and I’m especially happy for the seniors to end on a well-deserved high note,” head coach Aileen Guiney said.

The season has also been meaningful for underclassmen, who begin their journey with the soccer program on an exciting note.

“This season meant a lot to me because it was my first time playing with my sister. It was so amazing to share this experience with her and to be able to play alongside her in her final high school season. I will forever cherish this memory with my new SPA family,” Lucia Gonzalez said.

Though it was a tough end, the Spartans have much to be proud of, and the community celebrated their accomplishments as the team presented their second-place trophy to Head of School Luis Ottley at a morning assembly Nov. 7.