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Building something from scratch

Be it a new home, a relationship or, say, a varsity soccer program, building something from scratch is never easy.

It’s quite the undertaking, and a challenge Grand Valley High School’s new varsity girls soccer squad is embracing with all its might this spring.

After spending two years as a junior varsity-only program, the Cardinals are giving varsity ball a try. Not easy in a 3A Western Slope League with teams like Basalt, Aspen and Coal Ridge.



But the challenge yielded its first big reward on Monday.

In a snow-shortened game in Carbondale, the Cardinals scored their first-ever varsity win, beating Roaring Fork 1-0.



The four lopsided losses that preceded the win made the day all the more satisfying.

“I was so happy,” said Grand Valley goalkeeper Stephanie Hilgenbrinck, a sophomore who said she’d probably be playing at Rifle had her school not started a team. “It’s tough this year, considering we’ve never played to this level.”

And, despite the fact the team has taken its licks so far, school pride is high among the soccer players. Especially among the seniors, who hope to leave the program with a solid foundation.

“I want to leave a mark,” said one of those seniors, Brittney Garcia, who scored Monday’s lone goal ” the first and, currently, only one in the program’s varsity history. “I want to try to inspire them to keep going, to never give up. You just have to work at it, keep pushing forward, through losses, injuries, sickness ” everything like that.”

Tasting victory was an important first step. If nothing more, it proved to the Cardinals it can be done.

“I think it’s good to get a win under our belt,” Garcia said. “We’ve been getting slammed and that gave us confidence, since it’s our first year of varsity. Now we know we have the capability of doing something like that.”

Keep plugging away and the wins will come, said Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair, whose school opened in 2005-06 and is enjoying its best girls soccer season yet.

“I think the biggest thing is just convincing the young girls that it’s OK to take some lumps,” said Blair, who took over the program in the spring of 2007. “It’ll pay off in the future. Now those (Coal Ridge) girls are juniors and seniors and they know what it takes to play good soccer. You’ve just got to keep the morale up and let every game be a learning lesson.”

That’s an approach the Cardinals seem to be embracing.

“I think it’s just building pieces every year,” Garcia said. “Getting a little better like all the other varsity teams that have been building for a long time. We’re just at the beginning stages.”

It’s just like building a house. One 2×4 at a time does the trick.

Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123

jcaspersen@postindependent.com


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