Tiger Talk: More Than Just a Team

Tiger Talk: More Than Just a Team

Welcome to #TIGERTALK – a SweetwaterNOW exclusive series where Rock Springs High School Tigers inspire our community by telling their stories in their own words.

The RSHS Girls Soccer Team is headed to Jackson for the 4A Wyoming Regionals Tournament. They are going in as the first-place ranked team in their conference with a conference record of 9-1-2. The pressure of defending their conference and state title has been palpable all season, but with a strong senior squad leading the team they are ready for the challenge.

This year’s team has 10 seniors, nine field players and one team manager. The starting line-up includes all three team captains, Yesenia Vicencio-Delgadillo, goalie; Emily Taucher, midfielder and Kylee Knudsen, forward and defender. The Tigers have a fierce offense with Novaleigh Moses as midfielder, Karli Nelson as forward left-wing and Brecken Hunsaker as center forward. The strong defense is led by Corallee Weinreich as center defender, with Caroline Hamilton and Kayleigh Webb as defenders. Haleigh Knaphus, is the varsity team manager and she certainly is the glue that holds everything together.

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Over the years this group of players have been recognized as a “one in a million team.” The amount of talent these seniors have, coupled with the years they have been playing together has made this team the envy of their competitors.

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The story behind how they came together is uniquely special. Many of these girls started playing when they were four years old for the Rock Springs Soccer Association. Dustin Moses, a volunteer parent coach (the father of senior, Novaleigh) wanted to form a team to play competitively for the Rock Springs Avengers. In 2012 he recruited these girls when they were eight years old. Moses’ phone call to these, now senior girls, and their parents, put them on a trajectory that would change their soccer lives forever.

This young team made a name for themselves early on. As they began to win nearly every tournament they entered, their combined talent was undeniable. They dominated even though they continually played up, which means they always played teams older and twice their size. Over the next 10 years this core group of girls continued to grow together on and off the field.

The girls and their families have put in many cherished miles together. Traveling to tournaments all over the western United States, from Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Idaho and every town in Wyoming. The girls earned the ability to represent Wyoming in 2015 and 2017 at the Far West Regionals Tournament. They won the Wyoming State Club Soccer title in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

The team has been fortunate to have had many volunteer coaches throughout the years. Through it all, coach Moses has been a constant. As they entered high school Moses handed “his girls” off to another amazing coach, Stephen Pyer. Coach Pyer has been instrumental in their high school success by continuing to develop their talents and skills. At this level, many of the girls were invited to play for several Wyoming clubs, such as 307, High Plains Select and CFC regional teams. They have dedicated 14 plus years of their lives to this sport and it shows.

The momentum is on the Lady Tigers’ side as they head into the final two weeks of their season. Come watch this amazing group of seniors play some thrilling and exciting soccer. Every time they take the field they chant what defines who they have become over these last 10 years together.

Listen and you’ll hear, “one, two, three…FAMILY.”

Indeed, they are more than a team, they are FAMILY.