Pembroke Hill’s first girls soccer appearance in a state championship game didn’t produce the outcome the team wanted, but it may not have to wait long for a return.
Ten of the 13 players predominantly used by the Raiders in Thursday’s 4-1 loss in the Missouri Class 2 final to Duchesne at Swope Soccer Village return next season, with eight of those being underclassmen.
“We started a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so we should be good for the next couple of years,” said sophomore Caroline Salzman, who scored Pembroke Hill’s goal in the first half. “Our seniors were the ones that really led us to this point and they’re the ones that say, ‘Tradition never graduates.’ Hopefully we can continue our success and come back here next year.”
The returning players include talented freshman Caroline Peterson, who tallied 34 goals during the season as the Raiders finished 15-8-1 and lost to six schools from larger classifications.
“It doesn’t hurt having a player like her,” Pembroke Hill coach Matthew Pritchett said. “She’s a very dynamic player, but what I like about her most is that she’s a team player. She loves her teammates.”
Besides its youth, good team chemistry marks another reason the Raiders’ future looks bright.
“I love playing with these girls,” Salzman said. “We play for each other and that’s what gets us through every game.”
Duchesne, which won its fourth straight state title, started the scoring on Courtney Reimer's header off a free kick early in the first half.
Salzman answered a short time later, running on to a ball in the box by Julia Rosher and firing it into the goal.
“Julia laid off that ball and I just I had finish it, so I put it in the back of the net,” Salzman said.
The Pioneers led 2-1 at halftime, and Ryan Kielty scored two goals in the second half to reach the final margin.
Though Duchesne is definitely the present of Class 2 girls soccer, Pembroke Hill has a good shot to be the future.
“I feel like we’re going to be good all four of my years here as we have a lot of young talent,” Peterson said. “With what we have, hopefully we’ll be able to work with it and come back even stronger.”