Gretna Girls Soccer
Gretna’s girl’s soccer program is all about the details. From video analysis to Hudl, the Dragons know how to win.
Monday’s Metro Tournament finals saw one team three-peat as champion and another win its first state title. Gretna and Skutt Catholic proved the third time’s charm in their quest for a state championship.
As the final whistle blew in the NSAA Class B state championship Monday night, Skutt Catholic and Norris faced off for the third consecutive year. Skutt Catholic goalkeeper Ize Tidball put in an outstanding performance, shutting out Norris through the first two rounds of penalty kicks and ultimately clinching the Skyhawks’ fifth state title in the past seven years.
Gretna’s Sonora De Fini and Gretna’s Kayma Carpenter are both talented young goalkeepers that have big things in store for their future careers. De Fini, who plays for the Huskers, was named to the 2021 and 2022 All-Nebraska first team, while Carpenter is a two-time Academic All-State honoree. Both players play club soccer for Gretna Elite Academy.
Whether passing the ball forward or protecting the goal, the midfielders play a big role on any team. The Gretna girls’ squad features several talented players in this position, including the state’s top scorer, Sarah Weber. The future Nebraska Cornhusker has 29 goals this season, and opponents have not yet found a way to stop her.
The Dragons have done a good job honoring Addisyn Pfeiffer during the season and haven’t let the past get them down. They are the favorite to win the Class A state championship and haven’t lost a match since 2021.
They are a formidable midfield force led by seniors and juniors like Emily Walker, Kendall Dobberstein, Sonora De Fini, and London De Fini. The Dragons are also deep in attacking players and have some options.
Gretna girls’ soccer coach Chace Hutchinson took over the program before this season, leading them to one of the best two seasons in school history. The team has won four straight matches and outscored opponents 108-4.
The team’s success is credited to its players’ work ethic and the community’s support. Gretna’s players understand what being part of a family means and are dedicated to making their families proud. They are also excited about the opportunity to compete at the highest level possible and know what it takes to win.
Gretna is committed to ensuring that each student-athlete has an excellent educational experience. Participation in high school athletics is a privilege that must be balanced with a rigorous academic curriculum. Students participating in athletics must maintain a satisfactory academic record and meet all NSAA eligibility requirements. In addition, each athlete must be in attendance on the day of a contest. Trying to sleep in or going home ill will not be considered an extenuating circumstance for absence on the contest day. This includes attending classes and practices. If an injury occurs, the athlete must notify the coach and the athletic trainer immediately. The injured area must be kept iced and elevated for 72 hours and wrapped with a compression wrap.
Before interactive reports were so easy for soccer teams to access, coaches like Jono and Darren Callaghan at Gretna used to chart every pass with pen and paper and a complicated phone app. But with Hudl Assist, they’ve found that a new approach to video analysis has made them more engaged and has helped them find new ideas for improving.
In the Class A championship match, Gretna jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first 16 minutes thanks to goals from Allison Marshall, Chaley French, and Ava Mackovicka. But Lincoln Southeast got on the board 90 seconds into the second half when Cadence Bonneau drilled in a free-kick goal to cut the Dragons’ lead to one.
Ultimately, however, it was Gretna’s defense that stood out. The Dragons’ top-ranked defense held the Vikings without a shot on goal in regulation or overtime. That was in part due to the play of senior defender Sarah Weber. The reigning Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year and a 2020 First-Team All-State selection has opponents scrambling to figure out how to neutralize her.
Another key for the Dragons’ defense has been a strong backline that includes defenders Kayma Carpenter, Reese Borer, and Abigail Wendigo. All three have been a big part of the team’s defensive success in the state tournament. Wendigo plays for Coach Arnold Talero at Norris High School and carries a 3.0-grade point average while majoring in pre-med at UNL. She also played club for Gretna Elite Academy and was named ECNL U18/19 First-Team All-Conference this season.
As the Dragons approach the state tournament, they play up to their internal expectations. They have a sense of pride knowing they can do better than they’ve done in the past. But they also know a lot of work still needs to be done. The team spends countless hours practicing, structuring their technique, and trying to improve. The hard work has paid off so far. The Dragons are currently 12-0.
The team lost star player Addisyn Pfeiffer to a car accident this season, and they’ve used her inspiration to push through tough times. The group has a lot of talent and can win big games with their collective effort, which is why they’re one of the top-ranked teams in the state.
Senior Sarah Weber leads the team in goals this year, and she’s been a major part of the team’s success. Her teammates look up to her and try to emulate her game. The future Cornhusker has already scored 29 goals this season, and opponents haven’t found a way to stop her.
Kayma Carpenter is another defender for the Dragons. She is another future Nebraska Cornhusker who was part of the 2021 and 2022 state championship teams. She was a first-team Super State and All-Nebraska selection in each season. She played club for Gretna Elite Academy and Coach Chad Gleckler and was a first-team ECNL Midwest Conference player in 2022.
Senior defender Sabrina Flores is the Dragons’ second-leading scorer. She was a state runner-up last year and helped the team advance to the final of the 2020 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship. She has a great understanding of the game, and she’s always ready to step up when needed. She’s a smart player who knows how to read the game and makes good decisions with the ball. The Dragons will need her to play well this weekend to make a run at the title.