Riverton soccer seniors gain experience on fly after pandemic-cancelled seasonApr 07, 2021 11:49AM ● By Josh Martinez
Senior Skyler Lawson passes the ball near the goal during a 2-0 win over West Jordan. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Wood/Riverton Boys Soccer.)
By Josh Martinez | [email protected]
There’s a lot the Riverton High School boys soccer team missed out on last year, but the biggest one was helping the team’s seniors get experience.
The last time this year’s seniors took the field for a full season, they were sophomores. Riverton Head Coach Paul Moizer said he uses the junior season to get juniors into the rotation and give them varsity experience.
Without a junior season, many of the Riverton seniors are playing on the varsity team with minimal to no varsity experience.
“It’s kind of like we’re starting further behind than we usually do,” Moizer said.
That feeling, however, hasn’t stopped the Silverwolves from pushing forward. Moizer said the the early part of the season has required patience and repetition to help his players adjust to their new roles.
While many of the student-athletes are new to the varsity level, Moizer said some do have some experience. He said a few were in the rotation as sophomores and others worked in the rotation during the few matches before last season’s cancellation.
Senior Weston Daw, a senior with past varsity experience, said he’s found himself helping other players with less experience get into the right mindset for varsity.
“We let them know that they’re good, to not worry about when they make mistakes, just to keep working harder and fighting to get the ball back,” he said.
Another area Moizer is working with his team is helping them blend their playing styles and getting them all on the same page.
He’s also moving players around, trying to find the best rotation. One area that has seen the most change is goalkeeper.
Moizer said he had two senior goalkeepers graduate last year and another who decided not to return. This has forced him to bring in two field players to fill the role.
Senior Carver Bryan and sophomore Kyle Wood are both making the switch to goalkeeper. Moizer said he splits them in games, letting one play each half.
“They’re both really aggressive and great at coming out to the ball, but they’re still learning the angles and the shot-stopping,” he said. “It’s what you’d expect. They’ll come out and take on a player no problem, but the command of the box and all that is what we’re really working on.”
It’s still early in the season, but Moizer said he believes his team is moving in the right direction and making improvements.
These improvements add to the areas the Silverwolves already thrive. For one, Moizer said his team is a fast one that has really good fundamentals.
Moizer also said the team has great chemistry, which helps the players in their goals for improvement.
Senior Dalton Churilla said some of his chemistry with other players comes from playing on the same club teams.
He said he’s played with five other seniors in club soccer, and there are basically two other teams most of his teammates play on during the high school offseason.
While last year featured a lot of uncertainty and hardship, this year’s outlook looks much more clear. With that clearer horizon comes a bevy of goals, and Churilla is clear on where his team wants to be at the end of the year.
“Honestly, I want to take region,” he said. “I think we can if we can get all of our parts together and play our cards right and fight for it.”