The Edina girls’ soccer team has some work to do to match the accomplishments of the school’s state champion girls’ hockey team.
Fortunately for the Hornets, they have some players who know exactly what it took for the hockey team to win the program’s first title. Three members of the soccer team — Loli Fidler, Eva Hendrikson and Aliyah Lance — were part of the hockey team that made its dominant run through Class 2A last winter.
Coach Katie Aafedt is hoping the senior trio’s winning pedigree rubs off on her young soccer squad.
“They know how to play under the highest amount of pressure and know how to win under the highest pressure,” Aafedt said. “They are great role models for the rest of the team and show that it can be done, and people feed off of it.”
Fidler excelled in the clutch last winter, scoring two goals in the Hornets’ championship game victory. She said she can see similarities between the hockey and soccer programs, but soccer is just a few years behind.
“They’re honestly pretty similar for me,” said Fidler, a Harvard hockey recruit. “Hockey has always been good and never really had a bad year. Soccer is finally getting to that point and, in the next few years, we’re going to get where hockey is now.”
While Fidler sees the makeup of the teams as similar, her roles on the two teams couldn’t be more different. A go-to scorer who led the hockey team with 53 points, Fidler is the soccer goalkeeper. She posted four shutouts and earned all-conference honors a season ago for a 10-7-1 team.
“I like being able to see the whole field and help people by telling them where to go,” she said.
Fidler also enjoys playing behind a veteran group of defenders. Among them are returning starters Ashley Manderfeld and Hendrikson.
The Hornets also have experience in the middle of the field where sisters Maria and Sophia Boman return after earning honorable mention all-conference honors last season. Sophomore Jessie Hunt joins the midfield group after practicing with a boys’ club team last fall.
“I wanted to play at a higher level and play faster. This year everyone on the team was telling me how fun high school soccer is and it’s been a blast so far,” Hunt said. “We have a lot of super-talented players, it’s just about putting the pieces together and that just takes a little bit of time.”
The main area Aafedt still is waiting for the pieces to come together is on offense. Sarah Doran (10 goals) was one of four senior starters lost to graduation, leaving Sophia Boman (three goals) as the team’s top returning scorer. Lance, a senior, and senior Grace DeBoom are back after scoring two goals apiece last season, and sophomore Abby Swanda already scored twice in two games this season.
The Hornets won their season opener 3-0 over Armstrong on Aug. 24. But their offense struggled to produce many scoring chances two days later in a 3-1 loss at Burnsville. The team started five sophomores in both games.
“It’s just going to take some jelling, playing together and figuring some things out. Building that chemistry on the front line is the biggest thing we need to improve on,” Aafedt said. “There’s a lot of talent there, it’s just going to take them some time to work up to the high school physicality and speed of play.”
The Hornets will have to get up to speed in a hurry against a competitive Lake Conference.
“There’s a ridiculous amount of talent between the five teams in our conference, and I don’t think there’s one clear front-runner,” Aafedt said. “I can see any one of the five in the state tournament.”
So why not the Hornets? It will take a while to match the girls’ hockey team’s run of seven state trips in nine years, but the girls’ soccer team, with its mix of senior leadership and young talent, is ready to get started.
“The goal is to go to state and, if we can, win it,” Hunt said. “There’s a lot of talented players coming up through Edina and we’re going to be good this year and the next couple years.”