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School of hard knocks for Solon soccer

By Kelly Meyer
Special to the Economist
Teamwork is what the Solon girls soccer program is all about. “We are really starting to work together well as a team,” said head coach John Tucker. “We have been emphasizing possession and control to add to our already potent offense.” 
Last week the 11th-ranked Lady Spartans had their most challenging week, taking on three ranked teams. The girls displayed their ability to play together unselfishly and came out 2-1 on the week. Coach Tucker liked this challenge. “Rather than go into regionals coasting with a few easy games,” he said, “we are playing some top-notch opponents which is only making us stronger and better. We know what we have to do at regionals to be successful, and are committed to making it happen.”
Solon travelled north to Center Point-Urbana (CPU) Tuesday, May 15, to take on the ninth-ranked Pointers. This game provided the Lady Spartans with a few challenges, one of them being the aggressive, physical play of CPU. The game was played at mid-field with very few shots on goal by either team. The Pointers took the lead midway through the first half with a perfect, arcing shot from midfield off a penalty kick. The Spartans came back in the second half with an Alison McKinnie goal, but the final score ended 2-1 Pointers.
Thursday’s game was at home against 13th-ranked Mid-Prairie. This game gave the Lady Spartans a chance to show their teamwork at its best with some top-notch passing and defense. Each of the four goals Solon scored came off a previous shot and were scored because the offense was crowding the goal. McKinnie had two goals and an assist, while Jackie Meyer had two assists and a goal. Candice Kucera had one goal. Anna Seydel and Ali Herdliska each had an assist. The final score ended as a 4-1 victory for the Lady Spartans.
Friday, May 18, was Stack the Stands Senior Night and the stands were full. “How appreciative I was as a coach to see the outpouring of support from the community for the senior night,” said coach Tucker. “It means a lot to me, the girls, and the program.” Fans enjoyed the carnival atmosphere, the free sno cones, giveaways and tattoos, not to mention a very good game. 
Goalie Katie Silberstein, had a busier than usual day and did an excellent job defending against Clear Creek Amana. Kucera found the goal off a nice assist from Alyssa Stotler in the first half, and that proved to be the only score in the 1-0 Solon victory. Seniors Emily Ament, Katherine Carr and Alex Zierke were honored for their contributions over the last four years. 
Solon begins regional play at home against Mount Vernon at 5 p.m. next Tuesday, May 28. Everyone is encouraged to come cheer them on.