Most Viewed Stories
- Indians take surprise lead into final round of 4A state girls’ golf tourney
- Ramsey: Colorado girls’ soccer needs more yellow cards to mellow play
- Vista Ridge claims boys’ track and field team title for school’s first champion
- State track and field notes
- Discovery Canyon turns on waterworks at 4A swim meet
Girls' soccer player of the year: Sarah Schweiss, Air Academy
Sarah Schweiss was held without a goal in just four games all season, three of those in consecutive playoff games.
Those three games were almost by design.
Knowing the Kadets’ leading scorer would be double-teamed the latter part of the season and especially in the playoffs, Air Academy coach Nancy Sibley dropped Schweiss into an attacking midfielder position, removing the senior from her normal position of striker.
All it did was put Schweiss in a more creative role. The four-time, team-leading scorer and three-time team MVP took the move with grace, setting up teammates on their way to the 4A state championship game.
And Schweiss did snap that three-game scoreless drought — with the championship-winning goal on a 35-yard strike with about 3 minutes left in regulation.
“She’s probably my No. 1 player I’ve coached,” said Sibley, who has coached a number of Division I players. “She’s a different type of player. She’s so versatile, she can play anywhere.”
Schweiss finished with team highs in goals (19) and assists (18).
Forward Caren Nelson was a huge benefactor of Schweiss’ switch to midfield. During the playoffs, Nelson scored six times in five games.
“It benefited the team because teams would know who she is,” Nelson said. “They would triple mark her.”
Schweiss, who’d never really played the position, took the switch in stride.
“It was a little different,” she said. “It wasn’t always a scoring opportunity (for me). It was nice to have that role. I was just setting up other people, which was fine by me.
“In a game, I don’t care who’s scoring, as long as the team is scoring and as long as we win.”
The team kept scoring and kept winning — all the way to its first state title since 1993.
Leading the charge, in more ways than one, was Schweiss.
“I learned how to lead from her,” said Nelson, a first-year, junior captain. “I definitely looked up to her as more of a role model. She’s so selfless, helping people on and off the field. She helped me lead better on and off the field, as well.”
That role model position is going to be one of the biggest attributes Sibley will miss when Schweiss heads off to Texas Christian University this summer.
“I have two daughters, and she’s a great role model for them,” Sibley said. “She brought them TCU T-shirts and braided their hair before every game. It became a superstitious ritual.”
It was another position Schweiss was completely comfortable with.
“It leads to how I try and act around people,” Schweiss said. “It’s a really good feeling to know what I do influences others. It’s really awesome to be that person for someone.”