The trophy case at Adna High School was void of any girls’ soccer state accomplishments just four years ago. Three consecutive third-place state finishes later and it’s safe to say this year’s senior class definitely left their mark on the program.
Led by seniors Devanie Kleemeyer, Holly Edminster and Kenya Lorton, the Pirates advanced to the Class 2B state semifinals for a third straight year, capping the season with a 1-0 victory over Liberty Bell to once against secure a top three placing.
Kleemeyer, who was joined on the Central 2B first team with Edminster, Lorton, junior Jenikka Poppe and freshman Payton Aselton, registered the only goal in the win over the Mountain Lions to help Adna finish the year an impressive 18-2.
“It was a great season. It wasn’t where we wanted to be at the end,” Kleemeyer said, “but we ended our season on the win. Last night (in the state semifinals) was a tough loss, but we came out today and held our heads high and ended up taking third. It’s been great. I couldn’t ask for a better team to play on. I love each and every one of them.”
The Pirates saw their hopes of winning the program’s first state title dashed after losing a heartbreaker to Central League rival Kalama, 1-0 (3-1 shootout), in the semifinals.
Statistically against the Chinooks, it was quite the lopsided contest with Adna holding a commanding 16-1 advantage in shots and enjoying a 10-0 advantage in corner kicks against Kalama during regulation and two overtime periods.
Despite the overwhelming stats going in the Pirates’ favor, the Chinooks, who went on to lose 2-0 to Saint George’s in the state championship match, secured the victory following a shootout.
Adna had won the three previous meetings between the two schools this year, including a 2-0 victory over Kalama in the 2B Southwest District championship to go with a pair of regular season wins.
“It was easy to get them motivated,” said Adna coach Juli Aselton, who was named Central 2B coach of the year, about her squad’s follow-up match after the loss. “They were really sore and tired today. I think they left so much on the field yesterday (in the semifinals). They were hurting, but as you can see whenever the girls came off, they immediately wanted to get back in. They told me they were OK and wanted to go. Nobody wanted to be out of this last game. I’m just really proud of everybody. They worked really hard this weekend.”
In the match for third place, Kleemeyer’s goal in the 11th minute proved to be the game-winner, sending the Pirates’ seniors out as winners.
“It was a great way for me to end my senior year,” Kleemeyer said. “The defense played incredibly all weekend. I am just really proud of all the girls and to be a member of this team.”
In addition to Kleemeyer, Edminster and Lorton, Adna will also lose seniors Kate Blackstone-Burgess, Taylor Stewart, Taylor Ellison and Ashley Pardue, an honorable mention selection at goalkeeper, to graduation.
“They are really dedicated. They are team players,” Juli Aselton said. “This year, for sure, everybody included everyone and I think that’s part of the team dynamic. From the freshman to the top senior you are playing as one.”
The Pirates should make another run next year. The team loses a stellar senior class, but will welcome back a roster full of talent, including a strong freshman class which features Payton Aselton and Brynn Arrington, who was named honorable mention defender.
“We do have a lot of good kids coming through with this next two classes,” Juli Aselton said. “We are losing a lot of talent with this year’s seniors. They have just been great kids, but we do have a lot to look forward to. We have a lot to work over the next four years, but the girls are just going to keep moving up and moving along.”