Sand Creek girls’ soccer coach Jeremy Tafoya can’t help himself sometimes.
He was warned by the program’s “Team Mom” before an interview Monday to keep his lofty expectations for the Scorpions private. Yet, he shared his message from the team’s first meeting this season.
“Anything less than a state title is disappointing,” Tafoya said.
At least senior midfielder Amanda Garrett is on the same page.
“To win a state championship,” said Garrett of her goals.
Tafoya also acknowledges his aggressive, attacking style of play might not be the wisest choice all the time, yet the Scorpions keep going forward.
“I want to put up goals. I want to get numbers forward. I know at times it will sting me,” the coach admitted. “Sometimes I know I should probably sit back and try to eke out a win, but I just don’t have that in me.”
The Scorpions appear to provide reason for his conviction.
Sand Creek went 11-4-1 last year, outscoring opponents 97-26, and advanced to the state tournament without a senior on the roster.
The Scorpions are 3-0 to start 2019, outscoring opponents 21-4, after Tuesday's 7-1 win over Thomas Jefferson. A season-opening 11-1 victory over Pueblo South came without some of the eight seniors who did not have enough practice time to play after missing some training due to a big club tournament.
A few younger players filled the void with strong results.
“I’ve never had that kind of depth,” Tafoya said.
Sydney Lasater, a sophomore who tied for fifth in the state with 32 goals a year ago, scored five and added an assist, while Jadyn Ledoux, another sophomore, had a hat trick and added three assists.
In Game 2, a 3-2 overtime win over Ponderosa, Lasater and Ledoux added to their totals, while Jaden Davis, one of the players to miss the opener, scored her first of the season and added two assists against a team that advanced to the second round of state last season.
Her coach’s high expectations don’t bother Davis, a UCCS commit.
“I definitely embrace it,” she said. “We definitely have the skill. We work together as a family to be able to make it work out.”
The varied talents on the roster seem to support Tafoya’s preferred style of play.
In Davis, Ledoux and Zoey Shank, a junior committed to Division I Troy University, the Scorpions have an abundance of speed to beat an offsides trap.
“We can play any kind of way, but if you’re line is going to hold that high, we’re dumping it in and I have track stars that are going to go get it,” Tafoya said.
In Lasater and Garrett, a CSU-Pueblo commit nicknamed “Xavi,” by her coach after the legendary Spanish midfielder, the Scorpions have players with the technical abilities to break down defenses that sit deeper.
“We’ve got that creativity,” Tafoya said,
“I’m so excited. It’s pretty awesome.”
While the Scorpions’ aim is to outscore opponents, Tafoya also likes his defense, which features a couple of club teammates. Davis isn’t a defender, but she plays for the Pride Soccer Club with a group of others on the Sand Creek roster.
“It definitely helps being able to have the chemistry with each other and being able to know what this person’s already got in mind, since you’ve already done it so many times,” Davis said.
Tafoya has coached many of the players since long before they were in high school, which built a level of trust between coach and player.
“I’ve had him as a coach for a long time,” Garrett said. “He knows what he’s doing.”
Just because he knows what he’s doing doesn’t mean he can stop.
“I was told not to say that today, and I can’t help myself,” Tafoya said.
“I feel like they’re that good and why not set the bar that high.”