Newspaper Article Archive of
HESSTON, KS - Former Iowa Mennonite students Cassidy Bontrager and Jenna Boller have enjoyed unprecedented success with the Hesston soccer program this season. The Larks hosted the first home playoff match in program history after finishing the regular season with a record of 12-5.
The Larks’ season ended with a 4-0 loss to Coffeyville in the Region VI tournament on Saturday.
Bontrager has started every game in the goal for the Larks after splitting time between the goal and the field in 2015.
“It’s definitely not just the winning that makes the team so great, but it adds to it, that’s for sure,” Bontrager said. “But I also have this feeling that even if we were losing, we’d still be able to have fun together and make the best out of it. We have amazing team chemistry.
“Every time we walk on the field together I know that we’re all playing for each other and we want to win for each other. We’ve been able to connect off the field that playing together on the field brings us so much joy.”
Bontrager scored three goals in her freshman season and made 33 saves in the net. This year, she has recorded 89 saves and six shutouts while allowing an average of 1.39 goals per game.
“Cassidy shows great leadership ability, and I believe Jenna will be one of the team leaders next fall,” said Hesston head coach Bryan Kehr. “Cassidy and Jenna have both been great additions to the Hesston College Soccer program. They both excel in the classroom as well as on the field.”
The Hesston women’s team was recently named an all-academic team by the National Soccer Coaches Association.
Boller has played in all 18 games for Hesston this season, scoring two goals and recording four assists.
“The soccer season has been a blast to be a part of,” Boller said. “I have really been enjoying getting to know the girls, but also making new friends.”
Boller explained that the attitude of the team has played an important role in the successful season.
“Our goal at the beginning of the season was to not try and play for ourselves, but play for each other,” she said. “I definitely think that has been a key to our success this season.”
A highlight for Boller was a 4-1 home win over Barton Community College on September 23. Boller assisted on the Larks’ third goal of the game, as they built a 4-0 lead.
“This was the first time in the Women’s soccer program history that we had eaten Barton, so it was super cool to be a part of that accomplishment,” Boller said.
The Larks went on to win the next two games as well, extending their win streak to six and their overall record to 10-1.
“Both of these young women know how to practice well and be great teammates,” said Coach Kehr of Boller and Bontrager.
“Practicing well and with purpose is one reason this group has been successful. Another reason for success is great team cohesion. The team likes playing together and plays for each other, not for individual success.”
Both Boller and Bontrager are enjoying their Hesston experience.
“I have loved every second of being at Hesston,” said Bontrager. ”I have found a second home and a second community here and I can’t be more thankful for that.”
“Hesston has been a great experience for me,” added Boller. “I have been having a great time meeting new people and making new friends. I’m excited for what the rest of this year has in store for me.”