A stroll through Rosemount's girls' soccer games from 2021 reveals all the motivation any team needs in one result.
The thing is, it's not that one game, a loss in the Class 3A semifinals, that drives Rosemount in 2022. It's all those games, every one since five freshmen, seniors now and all committed to NCAA Division I teams, made the varsity in 2019.
"They feel like it would be really hard to end the season without at least competing for a championship," coach Gretchen Stramel said Monday during the first practice of the season.
Goaltender Jordan Hecht dismissed that "competing."
"State championship," she said. "It's gotta be. We are going for it. We were going for it last year and fell short. We are going for it again."
Make that again and again. Those five freshmen — Hecht, Olivia Bohl, Ava Grate, Taylor Heimerl and Shay Payne — reached the state semifinals in 2019, didn't have that chance because of the pandemic in 2020, then reached the semifinals again last year.
The Irish arrived at that 2021 semifinal with a 19-1 record and having held opponents scoreless for seven weeks, 12 games of clean sheets. When they finally gave up a goal, it stung. Centennial defeated Rosemount 1-0.
"It was a tough ending," said Hecht, who has agreed to play for Army in college. "We got on the bad side of a soccer game. Soccer swings one way or the other. We couldn't put it away, and they did."
The Irish will take another shot at it with largely the same crowd. Rilyn Rintoul is a sixth senior who Stramel said is a "huge component" of the offense. Yet another senior, Grace Bartlam, will contribute as both a defender and a forward. Expect junior Ava Thompson to be a force at midfield.
And at goalie? Stramel hasn't had to think about that decision for about four years. It's Hecht, the second-team All-Metro pick at her position last season.
"She is a tremendous goalie as well as a tremendous athlete in general," Stramel said. "She can get out on the field, too. She's a great leader, inclusive, energetic. The girls follow her, and it's great to have someone like that at the back of the field."