Six girls played club soccer starting at age 9. The same six became ball girls for the Mounds View girls’ soccer team, the same team they would end up playing varsity for as freshmen.
Now, Julia Anderson, Emily Nash, Mariah Northrop, Lauren Wikstrom and twins Emily and Rachel Boyer are still together for their senior soccer season.
“These girls are super talented, it’s just going to be hard to leave them,” Rachel Boyer said.
They are off to a good start, going 2-0-1 in their first three games, outscoring opponents 19-3. The group provided all of the scoring in the Mustangs’ opening 8-2 victory over Champlin Park. Rachel Boyer scored four goals and added an assist, while Northrop and Anderson scored two goals each.
Northrop, who had 32 assists coming into the season, became the school’s all-time assists leader with 41 after recording three in a 6-1 victory over Rogers on Friday.
“I walked into a gold mine with them,” coach Terri Patraw said. “When they play together, they have that natural chemistry.”
The Mustangs went 8-9 during the group’s freshman season in 2012. The next year brought change in the overall record and also with the coach, as Patraw came aboard.
“We went from a losing season to 18-0,” Anderson said.
The Mustangs took that undefeated record into the 2013 state tournament. They were seeded No. 2 in Class 2A but lost to Eden Prairie 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
“Going to state sophomore year with all of our best friends, there’s no better feeling than that,” Northrop said.
Mounds View came back in 2014 with a “huge target on our backs,” Anderson said. The Mustangs finished last season 12-4-3 overall, losing 2-0 to top-seeded Centennial in the Section 5 final.
“A lot of adversity last year,” Northrop said. “And I think that only made us stronger.”
That adversity mostly came in the form of injuries. The girls remember practices last year when six or seven teammates at a time were on the sidelines clutching ice bags. Among the injured: the Boyer twins.
“We had some big shoes to fill when they were gone,” Nash said.
Emily Boyer only played seven games her freshman year, just half during her sophomore season and she was out her junior year because of a second anterior cruciate ligament tear.
“This year, I’m super pumped because I get to play again,” she said.
Her sister Rachel also sat out her junior year because of a partial Achilles’ tendon tear. Despite missing so many games, Rachel entered this season ninth on the Mustangs’ all-time goal-scoring list with 25. She’s scored 10 more already this season and now ranks 6th.
Having a healthy team this season might be the most welcome story line for these six girls: They are back together in every sense.
“It’s the best year to be healthy,” Wikstrom said.
Mounds View brings with it many returning — and yes, healthy — players, and the Mustangs hope to contend for the Class 2A title. They also have moved to Section 4, which Patraw acknowledged has a tougher and deeper group of teams.
When it comes to ending this senior season, the girls know it will be hard to leave. They don’t take these games for granted either, since “you literally never know when it’s going to be your last game,” Anderson said.
“There’s nothing like high school soccer,” Northrop said.
Emily Boyer added: “Man, I don’t want to leave my sisters.”