Cody players bring winning tradition to NWC

Four former Fillies look to make impact for Lady Trappers

Posted 9/12/19

It’s not everyday that a handful of high school teammates get to continue their soccer careers at the collegiate level, let alone on the same team.

But that’s exactly the situation on …

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Cody players bring winning tradition to NWC

Four former Fillies look to make impact for Lady Trappers

Posted

It’s not everyday that a handful of high school teammates get to continue their soccer careers at the collegiate level, let alone on the same team.

But that’s exactly the situation on the soccer pitch at Northwest College. The Lady Trappers find themselves the beneficiaries this season of four former Fillies from right down the road at Cody High School: sophomores Genevieve Sauers and Jules Novakovich are joined on the roster by freshmen Alexa Prosceno and Rebecca Brantz. Sauers and Novakovich led the Fillies to consecutive state soccer championships in their junior and senior seasons at CHS, though Prosceno and Brantz actually have bragging rights, having led the Fillies to a third straight title last season.

NWC head coach Aaron Miller said having a group of players already familiar with each other is an asset when it comes to transitioning to a higher level of soccer.

“Anytime you can bring in a group of people who have been able to play with each other over the years, they already have that cohesiveness on the field,” Miller said. “They know where each other is going to be on the field, how each other moves. But there’s always such a big jump from high school to the college game, that players have to be willing to move around.”

The four CHS graduates have been teammates for years, with Sauers and Prosceno going all the way back to their club soccer days with the U12 Yellowstone Fire team. Sauers has only been playing with Novakovich and Brantz since high school, “but we’re like family,” she said, “so it feels like I have known them for forever.”

Sauers, who was named a team captain prior to the season, said playing collegiately has always been a goal. That she gets to do it with friends has made the experience that much more memorable.

“Playing with teammates that I played with in high school makes adapting to college so much easier,” she said. “We have great chemistry and we work well together by pushing each other past our limits.”

Coach Miller said he’s been impressed with Sauers’ work ethic, as well as her willingness to fill in at any position.

“She [Sauers] was out there every single day this summer, twice a day, trying to improve,” he said. “she just needs to open up a little bit more, and she’ll be a very dynamic player for us as we get into October.”

The former Filly quartet has brought a pedigree from CHS that few programs in the state of Wyoming can match — though they knew they had their work cut out for them at NWC. Prior to this season, the Lady Trappers hadn’t won a game in two years. But when you add a group of players and a new head coach unaccustomed to losing, a culture change is inevitable.

Prosceno pointed to NWC’s two pre-season losses as motivation.

“I don’t like to lose, but I didn’t realize what it felt like until it actually happened to me for the first time in three years,” she said. “I think it gave me a wake up call on how to bring a better mentality, a ‘winner’s mentality’ as my old teammates still in Cody may call it, and teach it to my teammates.”

Novakovich added that, “to win games you need to give 100 percent, 100 percent of the time in 100 percent of the things you do.”

“The team needs to have intensity and grit,” she said. “Luckily, intensity and grit are contagious. If one person is going hard, everyone else will go hard too. If we can bring that to the team and be those players, I think the rest of our team will do the exact same, and as a result, we’ll win games.”

Novakovich has been out with a knee injury for much of the season and could be out a few more weeks.

“We’d like to see her back, because she’s a great kid, great personality,” said coach Miller. “She’s been a good teammate, supporting all the girls.”

Prosceno has also been sidelined recently with an injury, though in the games she’s played she’s been effective. Miller called the freshman “a joker,” saying she likes to keep the mood light when it’s called for.

“She’s always cracking jokes, keeping everyone on their toes,” he said. “She’s another kid with a great personality, and as we get into her sophomore year and she’s learning the game a little bit more as a college player, she’s going to be effective.”

The Lady Trappers are off to their best start in years, posting a 2-3 record. That included a 6-2 win in their season opener against Treasure Valley Community College — the program’s first win in two seasons. Brantz said goals for the season were set early on, and the team intends to keep defying expectations.

“I believe that if you put your work into the process the means will come,” she said. “I want to see the Lady Trappers win and accomplish their goals.”

Miller called Brantz “very coachable,” adding that she brings a lot to the team.

“Rebecca is giving us everything she’s got at outside back, and seeing a lot of action,” he said. “She’s becoming more and more confident, and as she does that, she’ll really be able to help us effectively as we get up the field.”

As the four longtime teammates prepare for the start of Region IX play this weekend, it’s easy for them to think back on what it took to get to this point. While the memories they lean on may be different, they all share a desire to create a winning culture at NWC.

“I believe we have great chemistry as a team. We’re all like family,” Sauers said. “If we all put in the work, we will win. We will create opportunities that Northwest College has not had the opportunity to take part in. We have a stellar group of athletes this season and I hope the community comes to watch us show our hard work and commitment to the game.”

Prosceno succinctly agreed.

“I think it’s time for us to start kicking butt, scoring goals, winning games and taking names,” she said.

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