By John DeCoste
It has been a summer for the ages for one of Somerset’s girls’ soccer teams – and it’s not over yet. Including exhibition games, the regular season and through the division quarter-finals Aug. 20, the Somerset Tiedt U-14 have yet to taste defeat in 2013.
“We’re a small team – just 12 girls – and, for that reason, we’re very close,” said coach Robin Teidt of her Tier 2 team. The team includes girls from the Berwick-Somerset area, as well as Aylesford and Cambridge.
Entering their playoff opener against Kings West Meister, Somerset Tiedt had won 15 games in a row: 10 straight in the regular season plus five exhibition games, including the Valley Kickoff tournament where they won their division.
“We’re undefeated and we’d like to stay that way,” Tiedt said, “because, if we lose now, we’re done.”
She and her players were trying to stay focused, but are aware they only have three games between them and provincials.
“We have great chemistry, because most of us have played together since we were in U-10,” back fielder and defensive leader Emma Picard said of the team’s success.
“(We’re) strong both offensively and defensively,” the Aylesford teen said, adding her teammates are a close-knit group and play well together.
What Picard is to the Somerset defence, striker Kaytlyn Thibault is to offence.
“We’re all great friends, and we’ve been friends for a while,” the Cambridge said. “We know each other very well, and how we play.”
“They all love to play,” the coach said. “With only 12 girls, we don’t often have many subs, but, as soon as a girl comes off, she’s itching to get back out there again.
“We’ve known of other teams that have finished the season undefeated, so we know it can be done,” Tiedt added. “I asked the girls if they wanted to be one of those teams, and they’ve risen to the challenge.”
According to Picard and Thibault, the team has approached every game this season with the same goal – “strike early, try to score first, and defend well.”
So far, that strategy has worked very well, but Somerset survived a bit of a scare against Kings West last week. The game was still scoreless at halftime, but second half goals by Thibault and Picard – and the team’s trademark smothering defence – earned the girls a 2-0 victory.
Teidt said a lot of things have to fall into place to achieve an undefeated season, and a bit of luck at times is part of the equation.
“Hopefully,” she said prior to the game, “they can keep it up for three (now two) more games.”
Aug. 27, Somerset hosts Greenwood at in the division semifinal. Winner advances to Valley final Aug. 29. Provincials are in Cape Breton Sept. 7 and 8.