It’s not often that a team sporting nine seniors can be called “young,” but a closer look at the Davis High girls soccer squad’s roster supports co-captain Kylie Tierney’s assessment.
“We have a very young team this year,” the standout defender says of her sisterhood, which includes two freshmen, five sophomores and a trio of juniors. “I have a lot of faith in this team that we will fight in every game to take it as far as possible in sections.”
With Friday’s announcement that the 17-4-1 Delta Valley Conference co-champions are the No. 1 postseason seed, the Blue Devils have secured home-field advantage all the way through the May 18 title game, to be played at Cosumnes Oaks High.
How is this year’s squad different from the 2012 edition, which exited the postseason in the second round?
“The absence of Anna Maria Gilbertson (now at Notre Dame),” Tierney assesses. “We don’t have that one striker who scores the majority of goals for us. Our goal scoring comes from all over the field.
“I think we’re really hungry for a section title … and although we’re young as a whole, we have great team chemistry and that will really help (in the playoffs).”
Tierney, the daughter of Rosanna Panizza and Kim Tierney, spent some time talking all things soccer and school last week. As a veteran, sharing captain’s duties with classmate Jenna Farboud, the senior takes her stewardship very seriously.
“I feel I need to be a leader on and off the field,” the Sacramento State-bound player explains. “I love when my teammates come to me for advice and I’m able to help, whether it be soccer or not.
“My main responsibility of being co-captain is to support my teammates and help them with anything they need, as well as setting a good example.”
Tierney says on the pitch she tries to provide constructive criticism while making adjustments during games.
Seeing the whole field from her backline position helps keep everyone involved.
“She’s very calm and composed … helps to keep things organized,” second-year DHS head coach Sara Stone says. “I love her demeanor and humor, and she always has a smile on her face.
“She’s respected by all players and the underclassmen have really taken to her leadership. She’s all business on the field and recognizes there is a time and a place for everything.”
Stone went on to say she’s impressed with the respect she shows her teammates, especially the new girls — “Kylie is encouraging and (motivates) them.”
So what stands out in Tierney’s two-year varsity career?
“There have been many great moments,” she remembers. “But one I don’t think I’ll ever forget is when we beat Franklin this year.”
Davis topped the Wildcats, 3-2, at Yudin Field on April 17 — in essence giving the Devils a share of the DVC crown and ultimately their new-found top playoff seed.
“It was such a great game; we had a ton of energy, fans and parents were there and it was a high-stakes game,” she said.
“Those types of games are the best and winning that one made it all the better.”
“Overall … when I think about high school soccer, (I think about) our coach. (Stone) has really pushed us to do great things and she knows how to motivate us well.”
In Stone’s two seasons — she replaced four-time CIF champion Allen Carlson — Davis is 37-7-3.
But Stone is quick to redirect credit…
“Kylie is a team player who has a good sense of the tactical game and can make adjustments throughout the game,” the coach points out. “I expect Kylie to have a great postseason … she’s competitive and driven.”
Tierney’s energy isn’t all expected on the pitch.
An outstanding student, the Blue Devil enjoys crafting ceramic creations. In the classroom, math — that’s right, math — is her favorite subject. So much so that once she heads to college, she’ll be a mathematics/statistics major with an eye on teaching engineering or math as a career.
“I know, it’s odd considering most people hate (math),” Tierney continues. “I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to math, but I really like it.”
Tierney grew up in Davis. Her dad is employed by Campbell Soup and mom works for an online veterinary service. Her older brother Patrick, 21, work and lives in Davis.
So, going into Tuesday’s home playoff game versus Vallejo (3:30 p.m. at Yudin Field), Tierney rejoices in her chosen sport, letting her enthusiasm shine through while talking about playing on the back line…
“I love playing defense because we are the last field players to get through to get to the goal,” Tierney says. “Although it puts a lot of pressure on us, it also make me really proud to say that we’ve only given up five goals in league.
“Attacking out of the back is something else that makes defense fun because it lets you be creative.”
Tierney says there’s “nothing greater” then being the player who starts a scoring run with a succinct pass off a takeaway defense play.
Come Tuesday, Stone and Tierney hope the Blue Devils will get plenty of opportunities turning those opponents’ rushes into Davis counter goals.
Notes: In addition to Stone (who coached her on Legacy club teams), Tierney credits JV assistant/Davis Legacy Soccer Club mentor Tim Gbedema and her brother Patrick for being influential in her soccer development. “Inspiration comes easy for me,” Tierney adds. “My parents have both always been very supportive, allowing me to go to numerous tournaments and helping me when I needed it. Although it may sound cheesy, I’m thankful I still (get to play soccer). I’d play it every day, if possible.” … Tierney says she’ll try out for the Hornet soccer squad this summer.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.