Prep Girls Soccer

Blue Devils ready to meet all challenges

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 13, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Mar. 14, 2019 12:40 am

QUINCY -- Travis Dinkheller didn't want the Quincy High School girls soccer team's initial video session to be bogged down by overly critical analysis.

So the veteran coach limited the number of times the film from Tuesday's intrasquad scrimmage was stopped and critiqued by the coaching staff. Some miscues were replayed and discussed, but for the most part, Dinkheller allowed the Blue Devils to watch the film uninterrupted.

"They started to recognized their own mistakes," Dinkheller said. "What we didn't want to have happen was anyone to walk away going, ‘Oh, my gosh, I just didn't play well.' We didn't have that. We had them going, ‘Oh, I should have done that.' They saw what they did wrong.

"I wanted them to be able to visualize the things we're talking about."

It's part of Dinkheller's plan to challenge the Blue Devils more in every facet.

Coming off a 7-13-1 season that ended with a 6-0 loss to Edwardsville in the Class 3A regional semifinals, the Blue Devils realize adjustments have to be made. It starts with playing with better pace and better purpose.

"We need to work on our speed," senior midfielder Samantha Boyer said. "The varsity game is a quick game. We need to work on getting the ball up the field quickly."

The Blue Devils believe they can create some mismatches if they do that.

"We need to focus on playing up to speed," senior forward Hayley Milhauser said. "Right now, we're comfortable where we're at. We just need to push to play a little faster."

With that in mind, Dinkheller is demanding the Blue Devils to do everything a step quicker.

"I told them from the get-go I was going to push them," said Dinkheller, entering his 11th season at the helm. "We've pushed them physically. We've pushed them with the weather, being outside as much as possible. And we're trying to push them mentally and challenge them to understand the game at a different level."

That's the purpose of the film study.

"One thing I learned is we have to create space off the ball, not just staying in your general area," Milhauser said. "You need to create space for other people to make runs."

The Blue Devils believe they are plenty capable of doing that, largely because of the experience and depth in the midfield and defensively where five of the six returning starters reside.

"We work together a lot. We connect passes. We communicate well," Boyer said. "And we honestly understand each other as individuals, which makes us work together better."

The Blue Devils lost all-sectional forward Abbie Reis, who scored 13 goals last season, to graduation, but the return of senior forward Alexis Miranda and Milhauser and the continued emergence of sophomores Addy Morrison and Addy Armbruster should give the offense some punch.

That's only if they play with pace.

"I told them Day One of practice that we have to practice at a pace we want to play at," Dinkheller said. "It's deceiving when you practice and you're feeling really good about things and you're moving the ball then you go on the field against another varsity team and you're like, ‘Oh, we're not as quick as we thought we were.'

"So we're challenging them to play at a pace in practice that they want to play at in games."

QHS at a glance

Coach: Travis Dinkheller (110-92-14 at QHS, 11th season)

2018 record: 7-13-1 (4-1 Western Big Six Conference).

Returning starters: GK Ashley Boyer, Jr.; D Rachel Smith, Sr.; MF Meagan Mero, Jr.; MF Samantha Boyer, Sr.; MF Carson Boyer, Sr.; F Alexis Miranda, Sr.

Other top returnees: MF Sophia Soltwedel, Sr.; F Hayley Milhauser, Sr.; F Addy Morrison, Soph.; F Addy Armbruster, Soph.; D Sophie Shackleton, Jr.

Key losses: F Abbie Reis, D Keaghan Rodemich, D Krystal Burgtorf, D Emily Sohn.