Dutch Fork girls soccer won’t let loss to Chapin squash hot start

By Tim Leible
Posted 3/21/23

The girls soccer program at Dutch Fork has seen some lean years.

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Dutch Fork girls soccer won’t let loss to Chapin squash hot start


The girls soccer program at Dutch Fork has seen some lean years.

Coming into the season, the Silver Foxes hadn’t won a region game since 2019. They were hungry to turn things around this season under head coach Chris Moore.

Through eight games, they certainly have.

Dutch Fork ripped off seven consecutive wins to open the season, including a 2-1 win over White Knoll on March 14 to finally snap the streak of region losses. That was a monumental monkey to get off their backs.

“The last couple of years result-wise have been pretty tough,” Moore said. “Our objective was that we wanted to make the playoffs. This is a team that, if we can make it in, depending on the draw, we could really surprise some teams.”

Region IV-5A has been a grind for the Silver Foxes. After that first win on March 14, Dutch Fork traveled to 7-1 Chapin and fell 2-0, as the Lady Eagles buried two goals on a free kick and a corner in the second half.

“We’ve done a really good job of building up our confidence and playing really well. But I think going into that game, we still have a bit of a mental block that we’re trying to get through,” Moore said. “We came out a little flat in that one, maybe a little overhyped and we struggled to start with. I thought we had a better go in the second half, started to put some things together but they got a couple of opportunities on set pieces and put them in and that kind of sealed our fate.”

Moore immediately told his team to not let the one game define their season, especially after such a dynamic start. Dutch Fork doesn’t have a chance to linger on the loss, either. They turned around to play a 6-2 River Bluff squad for another region game Tuesday (after this week’s issue went to press) before hosting Lexington on March 24 for a brutal four-game stretch of region contests.

Dutch Fork’s success this season is built on excellent team cohesion, according to Moore. They have veteran leadership, which starts with captains Rylie Thielbar and Maya Leach. The Silver Foxes have a massive junior group, including goalkeeper Gracie Morris and a slew of athletes across the pitch playing key roles. The biggest boost was a pair of freshmen twins, Sian and Selah Cantave.

“We’ve had an influx of really good talent onto varsity this year mixing in really well with the girls that have been around and through the gauntlet and that’s paying off,” Moore said.

Morris has been excellent in goal all season. Chapin’s two goals are the most she’s allowed this season. Morris has recorded three shutouts and has 42 saves.

While she’s been strong in the net, the key has been better defense ahead of her.

“The last couple of years, Gracie is saving a lot of shots in some of these really tough region games,” Moore said. “This year, our defense has really helped reduce that load on her, which has been great.”

The coach said the key to their defensive success has been their depth, which the Silver Foxes have lacked in recent years, and anchors Thielbar and Selah Cantave.

Offensively, Moore has taken advantage of some great speed up front, as well as Leach’s ability to direct the offense from the midfield. She shares the team lead in goals with five, adding three assists. Shannon Wright has five goals of her own, while Shannon DuBois has three.

Moore thinks Dutch Fork is ready to make a run. This week will be crucial in their desire to do so. That being said, he’s trying to not put the weight of an entire season on two weeks.

“With our region, a lot of these games can easily go either way,” the coach said. “But that’s three really big ones in a row. We’ve set a team goal of making the playoffs this year, so I think that’ll help us keep a focus on that goal if we focus on one game at a time.”


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