The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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The Loy Norrix Women’s Varsity Soccer captains are proud of their best season since 2016

Credit: Matt Covault
Captains Ahlyceah Leake (21), Ella Stangl (1) and Zelda Molitor (18) prepare for the Gull Lake opponent’s corner kick. After Gull Lake crossed the ball into the goalie box, Loy Norrix cleared the ball to end the game.

It’s Apr. 22 and the sun begins to go down, cooling off the field. The grass is slick and the smell of freshly-cut grass fills the air. The announcer slowly counts down from 10 as Gull Lake and Loy Norrix fight head-to-head in the last seconds of the rivalry match. Finally, the ref’s whistle blows, and the Knights erupt in victory. 

After a 1-0 win against Gull Lake, an undefeated second-place team, MLive stated that it was Loy Norrix’s best start since 2016. Since the team hasn’t beaten Gull Lake in decades, this was a huge upset for the SMAC conference and drew much attention to the Loy Norrix varsity women’s soccer team. 

The varsity soccer team ended conference play with a 6-3-0 record (six wins, three losses, zero ties), but was 11-5-0 (11 wins, five losses, zero ties) overall before the tournament. The team had 11 shutouts (zero goals scored against them) and beat three undefeated teams. Their successful record led them to the gold bracket of the conference tournament: the highest grouping in the West Michigan area, and a second seed for districts. 

Captain Ahlyceah Leake believes that the team has done the best they have ever done. 

It felt so good to beat teams that we haven’t beaten before,” Leake said. “We are always the underdogs, and when you work hard the entire game to get the outcome you want, it is a proud and fulfilling moment.” 

It’s important to have fun and feel comfortable with the people around you, and I think that has led the team to work better together, which transfers to the field.”

— Ella Stangl

Many factors have led to the team’s success this year. Outside of gameplay, the relationship between the varsity women off the field played a big role in how the team worked together on the field. Knowing how to work well as a team is an aspect of the sport the varsity girls strived to achieve, which they feel has brought them success. 

“I think we’re all super close and good friends,” Stangl said. “It’s important to have fun and feel comfortable with the people around you, and I think that has led the team to work better together, which transfers to the field.”

Along with off-the-field dynamics, on-field effort and determination have also played a large role in their season. The team’s effort for all 80 minutes has led them to see the outcomes they had hoped for. The team learned that pushing past assumptions and records while playing to their full potential as a team continued to be a recipe for success. 

Last year, the girls ended with a 9-8-3 record, putting them in seventh place overall and leaving them with room for improvement. 

“This is probably the best back line [defenders] I’ve ever had, and combined with the defense that our midfielders play too, it really is a team effort to keep a clean sheet and they do it well,” said Stangl. “It makes me feel very proud of both myself and the effort that everyone else puts in.”

Senior Goalie Ella Stangl makes an aggressive save during the second half as Gull Lake forwards crowd the goalie box. To fully protect the ball from going in, Stangl had to go low so the ball could not be shot over her head. (Credit: Matt Covault)

While the team accomplished many of their goals for the season, like beating Gull Lake and making it to the gold bracket, there were also some downs. During the first SMAC tournament game, the team was faced with a new challenge. Stangl, their only goalie, became injured during double overtime, later finding out that she had broken her kneecap, which would eliminate her from the rest of the season and tournament games.

 Junior captain Zelda Molitor and freshman Zora Quayle both stepped in to help the team as goalie to finish the season. At first, right after Stangl’s injury, Molitor played two games to fill in for Quayle’s spot. Once Quayle’s JV season was complete, she played the rest of the varsity season as the goalie. 

I think the most challenging moment of this season was finding a new goalie after our goalie broke her kneecap,” Leake said. “It is very hard to stay calm during a game when it’s not going how we want it to, but we needed to be calm and keep our energy and attitude high.”

The varsity girls learned a lot from this unexpected hurdle, especially how to keep going after losing a big asset of their accomplishments. With or without their senior goalie, the team chose to continue and finish the tournament the strongest they could. While Stangl’s injury wasn’t what they hoped for, the girls are still proud of all they accomplished during the 2024 season. 

The team made it to the second round of districts after beating KC 4-0 in the first round but lost to Lakeview in the semi-finals.

“We have a super strong team this year and a really good dynamic that helped get us where we wanted to,” said Stangl.

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    CeciJun 4, 2024 at 12:01 pm


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    CottieJun 3, 2024 at 3:33 pm

    Everyone should see some LN Women’s Soccer! Amazing athletes. Thanks for this!