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Chemistry is key to 2020 YHS soccer girls’ success

Pictured are the members of the 2020 YHS girls’ varsity soccer team. Photo / Provided

Tuesday, the Yukon High School girls’ soccer team will face Moore for its first match of the season.
First-year coach Danielle Tantillo said her team – which boasts nine returning seniors – will need to rely on their footwork and technical skills against the Lady Lions.
“Moore is strong and physical, so we’ll have to make sure we match up with that,” Tantillo said. “We’re a smaller team, so we’ll have to use our skills and other attributes to help us against them. Like speed, and ball skills and technical work. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage against their big physique.”
The Millers have another advantage, as well: the team recently bested Moore in a preseason match.
“I’ve been telling them, ‘You did it once, so you can do it again,’” Tantillo said.
But that preseason victory could work against the Millers, she added.
“They’ll be hard to beat twice,” she said, noting that the opponents will be working hard to even the score against her team.
In preseason, the Millers have been averaging multiple goals per match, Tantillo said, and they’ve only lost once.
“But I told them that the loss was a wake-up call,” she said. “It let us see what we need to improve on – where we’re falling short.”
Tantillo, who came to Yukon from Denver and has experience coaching both boys and girls soccer, said she’s been working with the girls’ team since August.
“I’ve had them in eighth-hour off-season, and from then until now, there’s been a huge improvement. The girls are adjusting to a new coach, to a new coaching style compared to their old coach, to my expectations,” she said.
And as they work through those changes, they’re coming together as a team.
“They’re connecting as a team, both on and off the field,” Tantillo said. “They’re becoming closer, their on-field chemistry is getting better, they’re connecting passes better. Everything is falling into place.”
While Tantillo hopes each girl has a stand-out 2020 season, she expects to see junior Peyton Brennis become one of the team’s big scorers.
“She’s one who’s been scoring a bunch of goals,” Tantillo said. “In the past few years, the team has had a girl who averages two goals a game, so we need someone to fill those shoes. Hopefully, Peyton will be that scorer for us.”
Another player, junior Amber Pardo, will be one to watch. Pardo recently transferred from Enid.
“She’s been playing big time lately,” Tantillo said.
And junior Zoe Wilson, a holding midfielder, has impressed Tantillo.
“She’s been creating a lot of chances for the girls to score,” Tantillo said.
This year’s batch of seniors is expected to make their presence known both on and off the field as well.
“Their skills are at all levels, and it’s great to see them all coming together, because each one contributes something different,” Tan-tillo said. “All nine of them are very experienced, so it’s great they’re sharing their wisdom with the other girls.”
Because of the nature of soccer, Tantillo said the entire team must work together to have a stellar season.
“What makes soccer unique is the chemistry you have with your teammates,” Tantillo said. “It’s not an individual sport, or a sport where you make one play and it’s over. Soccer is a sport where you build on one play after another, and the chemistry has to be there, otherwise the team isn’t going to be successful. If there’s conflict or confrontation off the field, you can see it on the field, because soccer is a sport where players rely on one another all the time. They need to have that chemistry.”

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