Winning is ‘fun’
By Matt Harris
Oct. 6, 2017
MANTI—In one of Manti girls’ soccer’s most dominant regular seasons in the last several years, head coach Elishia Steinfieldt describes it best in a single word.
Steinfeldt can talk at length about how much “fun” it’s been coaching a young yet vastly talented Manti team this season. The Lady Templars currently own a 12-1-1 record, an undefeated 9-0 record in region, a nine-game winning streak, and a scoring differential of plus-51. Fun would seem like an understatement.
It’s all been done with a whopping three seniors.
“We needed to teach the younger kids the system that we play,” Steinfeldt said, “but we have a lot of really talented girls, and it’s been really fun to see them learn and grow.”
Much goes into the success that Manti has in their soccer program, who have been in the playoffs every year for over a decade, sporting a winning season record every single year. For one, Steinfeldt doesn’t have much to distract her, not holding a faculty position at Manti like many coaches in high school often do. In her tenure, Steinfeldt has accrued roughly 100 wins over 12 years with a playoff record of 8-10.
Opponents of the Lady Templars have scored on them all of 10 times, only four times in region. While the defense gets credit from their coach on the effort they put in to maintaining a shutdown of their side of the field, the best defense, Steinfeldt said, is a (ridiculously) good offense. Manti’s 61 goals are good enough for sixth-highest in the state.
Sophomore Brynlee Golding can be credited as the offensive leader on the team, scoring a team-high 13 goals so far this season, yet the accomplishment pales in comparison to the offensive finesse the Lady Templars show as a unit. 13 players have found the net this season in a surprisingly equal load of scoring.
“That’s what’s been really fun this year,” Steinfeldt said. “It’s a pretty balanced attack. The girls are playing unselfishly. They are looking for one another and creating opportunities for each other. None of them are afraid to pull the trigger when they’re in front of the goal.”
While the first five games saw the Lady Templars scoring nearly seven goals per game, the scoring punch has slowed down some in the last few games, rendering some closer victories, particularly a 3-2 decision against Emery. Much of the slowdown has been due to injuries, yet the Lady Templars have kept exceptionally healthy this season.
The only real blemish in Manti’s success this year came in the form of a 3-0 loss early in the season to a powerful Rowland Hall squad. The Winged Lionesses offense has a jaw-dropping 107 goals this season. Those are the types of teams that the Lady Templars try to see as much of as they can, and it’s one of the most significant reasons why Manti is ending their season play in a non-region matchup against Waterford, 10-1-1 on the season with even more success on paper than Manti.
“We like to try and set up a tough, physical match right before state,” Steinfeldt said. “We need to get that feeling of hard-hitting competition.”
Due to the recruiting aspect of private schools like Waterford and Rowland Hall, much of the playoff picture in 2A/3A soccer often get dominated by the “private sector.” To be ready for the playoffs, Steinfeldt knows that it takes being mentally on the next level.
The Lady Templars played Grand last Tuesday and will play host to Waterford today at 4 p.m, but the scores are unavailable.