Alli Vernon on Making it to Varsity in Freshman Year and Goals for Districts


Credit to Savannah Wandzel

Freshman Alli Vernon takes possession of the ball around the 50 yard line vs. Marquette on 5/3.

By Dominic Hoscher, Editor

To reach the varsity level, in any athlete’s career, is an achievement to be proud of. To do it as a freshman is even more impressive. Alli Vernon has been on the varsity girls soccer team for around two weeks now in her first year at FHN, and has already made an impact on the team. With the end of the season near, Vernon talks about what it means to her to earn a spot on the varsity squad, the differences between playing on JV and varsity, and her goals for the postseason.

Q: You were just recently called up to varsity, so what was your initial reaction when you heard that you were being moved up?

A: I was really excited because Olwig pulled me out of my class and told me that he wanted me to come to the game, which made me a little bit nervous but mostly excited.

Q: What did it mean to you to get the call up to varsity in your freshman year?

A: It meant a lot, because I worked really hard on the JV team and through playing soccer my whole life, I’ve worked hard and it meant a lot for that to be shown, especially in my freshman year, that I made it.

Q: What does it say about your class to have four freshmen on the varsity team?

A: I think it shows that we work hard, the girls that are on varsity worked hard to get there, and also the luck of the draw. We got lucky to have a few good players at this age and in the same school.

Q: Shifting from JV to varsity, how do those two game styles differ?

A: Varsity is a lot faster and the players there are a lot better. The transition was definitely kind of difficult because you go from this slower paced game and all of the sudden it’s really fast, and it’s kind of hard to transition that.

Q: With Fettig being the JV coach and Olwig doing varsity, are their coaching styles any different?

A: They definitely do have a different approach. Olwig is kind of blunt and tells you when you’re not doing well and what you need to fix. Fettig is more general, and is a little bit more vague as he doesn’t really tell you what you’re doing wrong. He does give some instruction, but not as much as Olwig does.

Q: How do you keep a spot on the varsity team?

A: Just by working hard and playing my game. I think that I have the skills to stay on the team, so if I just keep working hard I believe that I’ll be able to stay up with the team.

Q: What does it say about your play so far to not just get called up to the varsity team, but to also be given plenty of playing time?

A: I was actually very surprised that I’ve been playing as much as I have because I knew that I’d play a little bit, but I figured that I’d only be put in if we were up by a few goals and they didn’t have that much to risk. But I’ve liked playing on varsity, like the competitive and high pressure so I’m glad I get to play a lot but it’s definitely a surprise.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a freshman playing on varsity?

A: It is difficult because these girls are a few years older and that can be kind of intimidating at first because JV was mainly just freshmen and sophomores, but this is mostly juniors and seniors so they’re definitely bigger, faster, and stronger which is definitely a challenge.

Q: Each time you get set to go onto the field, what does coach Olwig tell you?

A: He’s always focused on the game, so he doesn’t really talk to the bench players a whole lot. But usually before you go in, he’ll say something about the person who’s in your position on the field and say what they’re doing wrong, and explain why he’s taking them out and putting you in. That allows you to know how to stay in the game.

Q: With it now being May, how do you hope to keep your fitness this late into the year?

A: A lot of it is psychological honestly. If you’re tired, you just have to tell yourself that you can keep going and also take care of yourself with nutrition, sleeping, things like that. And that’s definitely hard with finals and things coming up, but that’s just the way it is and is why it’s psychological because you just have to tell yourself to keep going and push through.

Q: With districts being just around the corner, what is Olwig stressing to your team in practices and games?

A: He’s mentioned a few times that the games we are playing now matter, but the ones that are coming up, like districts, are the ones that count. I think that basically means that we want to win these ones, but those are the ones that determine whether or not we move on and how far we are going to go.

Q: Going into the last few weeks of the season, what is a goal that you have for yourself individually?

A: Just to keep working hard and playing my game, support other people on my team and just have fun with it, enjoy that I’ve made varsity in my freshman year.

Q: Now, is there a certain goal you’ve set for the team as a whole?

A: The ultimate goal is to win state, but I think we just want to play the way we know we can and just go out there and do our best and get as far as we can in those games, because I think we can win a few games and do well.