Pine Creek girls’ soccer leans on talent, camaraderie as postseason begins | High School Sports

Before the season started, John Frederick, the Pine Creek girls’ soccer coach, had his players sit down and write some sort of personal essay.

He challenged them to imagine their year-end banquet. He asked: “What do you want your coaches to say about you? How would you like to be remembered? Is it about how many goals you scored or is it about your character?”

It’s part of something called “personal growth montages.” The Eagles start their week by focusing on things outside of football for 15 minutes. Sometimes they read testimonials from top-level coaches and athletes, and sometimes they discuss how they can serve their communities. Frederick and his staff want the Eagles to be as good off the field as they are on the field. And that’s a high bar.

“This is maybe the most talented group I’ve ever coached,” Frederick said.

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The Eagles have five seniors who will play collegiate football, three of whom will do so at the Division I level.

Pine Creek goes into the postseason 14-1, their only loss coming in overtime to Colorado’s No. 1 team in 5A, Valor Christian. The squad’s success stems from a rare combination of elite talent, camaraderie and accountability. And it didn’t take long for the Eagles to realize they had something special.

For Tess McConnellogue, a defenseman who will play at Kansas State next year, that moment came playing indoor soccer in November.

“We became very close and connected passes,” she said. “We started to get a feel for how everyone plays.”

Although the Eagles had a high-level group, they weren’t all familiar with each other on the field. Some played together as kids and then transferred to various club teams, while others spent time honing their skills outside of the high school scene.