Falcons Girls Soccer Team to Play Final Home Match

    Thunder Mountain senior soccer girls (l-r) Isabelle Hansen, Sarah Heaton, Ann Steinman, Bella Hanna, Macey Fuette, Ellie Knapp and Samantha Dilley. Not pictured is Kaylani Tupou. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons girls soccer team will host its final home game of the season tonight, with a send-off for its seniors before play starts. The team will honor its senior players at roughly 5 p.m. on Falcons Field, before playing Juneau-Douglas.

      The Falcons seniors commented on their pandemic seasons - of losing a year to no play and uncertainty this year around scheduled events - where they will be next year, and what they would change, looking back, on their careers.

      Isabelle Hansen will attend Reed College in Portland, Oregon, majoring in psychology. Her favorite food is mac and cheese, favorite movie “Finding Nemo” and favorite book “The Tale of Despereaux.”

    “From this COVID year I guess I picked up really just how much I enjoyed soccer,” Hansen said. “It sucked to miss last season and it sucked that I was gone for a year and it is really nice to be back out on the field.”

    Said Hansen, “I would say I just hope I would be better prepared for what the pandemic was. A lot of it kind of jumped itself on me and I wasn’t really ready for any of it. I knew what kind of to expect, that it would be distance and quarantine and all of that but the amount of smaller details that I kind of just overlooked in the beginning because it was just all new, I wished I really hadn’t done that because I had to figure those out a lot later and it made it a little harder.”

      Sarah Heaton will be attending Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, pursuing a degree in nursing. Her favorite food is enchiladas, favorite book “The Old Man and the Sea” and favorite movie “Tangled.”

    “From this year I learned how dedicated our team is,” Heaton said. “And how important being able to play is even through all the harsh circumstances.”

      Said Heaton, “For school, I would appreciate more in person school, and for soccer I would maybe start it earlier so my footwork would be better.”

      Ann Steinman will attend Boise State University in Boise, Idaho, studying psychology. Her favorite food is pickles, favorite movie “Fools Gold” and favorite book “Divergent.”

      “This year I really appreciated the fact of a team sport,” Steinman said. “Because working out and everything over COVID, you just miss that whole team and everyone around and all the team bonding. It is just really important to be involved.”

      Said Steinman, “For my high school career I don’t think I would change anything. I think everything we went through, even with COVID, was a really important learning experience. Like being so isolated and everything, you learn a lot about yourself. I had a great time throughout high school, made lots of friends through all the sports so I wouldn’t change anything.”

      Samantha Dilley will be attending Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon, working toward a degree in secondary education. Her favorite food is avocados, favorite movie “The Notebook” and favorite books are “Dr. Seuss.”

      “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic I learned that coming together as one is really important both through school and through this team,” Dilley said. “And I am just really proud of our team for working as hard as we have to get to where we are now.”

      Said Dilley, “After looking back at my four years of high school, I think I would probably remind myself more that life is really short, kind of live for the moment. I think I kind of got caught up in playing three sports all the time and being a student that I got really stressed out so I would remind myself that it doesn’t have to be so stressful.”

      Macey Fuette is going to take a gap year to work and travel. Her favorite food is tacos, favorite movie “Priceless” and favorite books are the series of “Harry Potter.”

      “I am proud of this team because we are all really hard workers,” Fuette said. “Even last year going into the season, we put a lot into it and just to come back and put even more into it this year I was proud of us.”

      Said Fuette, “I let stress take over a lot of my high school career so I would tell myself to let things go and just know that everything is going to fall into place no matter what you do.”

      Bella Hanna will be attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, to major in nursing. Her favorite food is all types of picnic food, favorite movie “Dan in Real Life” and favorite book “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.”

      “I think I learned a lot about resiliency,” Hanna said. “This year we have seen that we can get through the hard stuff and still come out on the other side. I think that has really bonded our team because we have all been through it.”

      Said Hanna, “Kind of like Macey said, don’t sweat the small stuff, just kind of like, let life come at you and just kind of move on from it. But also I would say to be more of an advocate for myself and not just try to please people at all times.”

      Ellie Knapp will be attending the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, to study finance and international economics. Her favorite food is pho, favorite movie any of the “Harry Potter” movies, and she is a huge reader so a favorite book is difficult. Her last book was “Daughter of the Pirate King.”

      “I think this past year I have really learned a lot from our team’s determination,” Knapp said. “And just to kind of reiterate what Bella said, resiliency. Any time we were able to have a practice the team was so dedicated, we all came out. I think John (coach Newell) was saying that this is the biggest amount of people we have had show up to all our preseason practices and everything and that is just so impressive to me.”

      Said Knapp, “If I could give myself one piece of advice it would probably be to embrace who you are and also just stop caring what other people think about you because once you do that life just gets a lot more interesting, and you feel a lot more comfortable in who you are and everything works better for you.”

    Thunder Mountain coach John Newell said this was his last season with Thunder Mountain.

      “I don’t think I could have asked for a better group of girls,” he said. “I am proud to have been able to coach them and especially proud of how they play and conduct themselves both on and off the field. If this group is indicative of our graduating class, then our future is in good hands. I wish them well and am confident they will do great things in their lifetimes.”

      Following are his comments on each senior:

    Ellie Knapp - “Ellie is one or our captains and half of the notorious Ell and Bell duo (Ellie and Bella). She is in her fourth season with TMHS where, as a freshman she quickly moved into a starting varsity midfielder position. With her hard work and control of the ball she has become an integral part of the team by conducting play through the midfield. My favorite move of hers is when she dribbles around in circles until her opponents get dizzy then she takes off in a different direction. We will certainly miss her on the team next year.”

      Isabella Hanna - “Bella, the other half of the infamous Ell and Bell duo, has been a mainstay of our outside midfield play…even though I still think she would make a great centerback. Lol. In her fourth season with the team she has developed into an attacking winger that is constantly supplying dangerous crosses in the attacking third. My favorite memory is from our last trip to state where Bella scored the winning goal to put us in the semi-finals. Her interview with the local TV news outlet was epic! We will miss her happy-go-lucky attitude and her speed on the outside next year.”

    Isabelle Hansen - “Izzy is in her third year with TMHS as she took a year off for the exchange program. Since her return she has constantly put in the hard work at practice to become a player that I can comfortably put in any position on the field. Her positive, can-do attitude is contagious. Even when we asked her to take a shot at a goalkeeper position her response was “Sure, I can do that”. My favorite memory of Izzy is when she scored almost from midfield in Wasilla that gave us a 1-0 win. The smile on her face was priceless. We will certainly miss her positive attitude and hard work next year.”

      Sarah Heaton - “Sarah is in her fourth year with TMHS and has worked hard to become a starting outside defender for the team. Her constant playful attitude, dance moves and musical selection always keep the team in a great mood. My favorite memory is of her and her sister competing in a drill that required contact. This quickly turned into a full on tackle football drill. We will miss Sarah’s energy and her playlist next year.”

      Ann Steinman - “Ann is in her fourth year with TMHS and has become a midfielder that is comfortable patrolling the center of the pitch both offensively and defensively. Even though she is almost as tall as me now, I still remember her from her elementary or middle school soccer days where the jersey she was wearing hung down to her knees. We will miss Ann’s cheery attitude on the team next year.”

      Sam Dilley - “Sam came to us from the basketball program and has quietly become a stand-out goal keeper for the team. She has worked hard in practice to transition from an athlete who would make reaction saves, to a keeper who now knows how to be in the right place at the right time. My favorite memory from Sam was this year against JD where she snuffed out a breakaway by one of their forwards. The team went crazy when she did that and it made for some great pictures in the news article. Sam will be a huge loss for the team next year.”

      Macey Fuette - “Macey is our team captain and has done more for this team in four years then I have space to mention here. From organizing the defense to organizing the team gear orders. From communicating on the field to communicating the schedule to the team. She has put in more time behind the scenes than I can count and has been the epitome of a true team captain. I can’t thank her enough for all the hard work she has put in. Of all the memorable things she has done on the field, my favorite memory is off the field, the day I told her I wanted her to be captain of the team. The look on her face was that classic, are you crazy, look. It turns out to have been a great call. We will certainly miss her both on and off the field.”

    Kaylani Tupou - “Lani is in her fourth season with TMHS and has worked herself into a forward position. Her hard work, sly smile and great attitude at practice makes her fun to be around and to coach. My favorite memory from Lani is when she does her flip throw-in and the crowd sees it for the first time. The ooohs and aaahhhs when they see her toss the ball to the center of the field instantly pump up the crowd and the team. We will miss her energy and flip throws next year.”

    Thunder Mountain senior soccer girls (l-r) Bella Hanna, Samantha Dilley, Ann Steinman, Sarah Heaton, Ellie Knapp, Macey Fuette and Isabelle Hansen will be honored tonight before their 5:15 p.m. game at Falcons Field against Juneau-Douglas. Not pictured is Kaylani Tupou. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)

    More from Sports

    • High School Harriers Stay the Course

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - With the first prep cross-country race of the season set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday along the Treadwell Mine Ruins Trail in Douglas, the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears and Thunder Mountain High School Falcons are ready to welcome schools from Haines and Petersburg in the Sayeik Invitational.

    • Beat the Odds Race against Cancer Set for Saturday

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Saturday at 9 a.m. one of the largest gatherings of like-minded community members will don race bibs at the Riverbend Elementary covered play area to address a disease that is the leading cause of death worldwide.

    • East, Colony, Juneau Top Football Polls

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Juneau Huskies, East Anchorage Thunderbirds and Colony Knights all opened the prep season last weekend with wins and sit atop the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network Poll in Division I.

    • Pepperdine Starter Kendyl Carson Returns to Roots

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - She doesn’t have to shovel snow off the driveway when looking for a game now but Pepperdine University starting point guard Kendyl Carson remembers those elementary school days that led her across Juneau middle and high school courts to sandy beaches in Malibu, California.

    • Hoonah Hosts First Annual Hoops Camp

      Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Once considered a hot-bed for youth basketball play in Southeast Alaska the city of Hoonah is hoping to reinvigorate that passion through their roots on the hardwood courts.


    Add a comment

    Log in to the club or enter your details below.