When Keller boarded its team bus Thursday morning, bound for the UIL Class 6A state soccer tournament in Georgetown, 13 seniors departed for their final high school game — or hopefully, games.
It’s a large class that has etched its place in school history by becoming the first to reach the state tournament in soccer.
For four seniors in particular, this marks the culmination of a journey that started promisingly three years ago. The fresh-faced underclassmen ventured into a strange new world, but for a while it seemed they might not reach their full potential.
“In the beginning, all the varsity girls were pretty rude to us, so it was just us four freshmen,” midfielder Rebecca Keane recalled. “So we stayed close throughout the past four years because of that.”
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Keane, along with Gabriella Coleman, Cami Floth and Berklee Peters, were thrust into varsity life way back in 2014.
“We knew they were special, even before they got here, when they were in middle school,” coach Billy Griffiths said.
The Indians advanced to the regional tournament that season, losing to eventual state champion Hebron.
“As a freshman when we got there, we were really excited because we were freshmen and we couldn’t believe that we had gone from the freshman team to the varsity,” Peters said.
But the ride wasn’t without its bumps, as Keane alluded to previously.
“These four girls have been my best friends for my entire high school career,” Floth said. “So the way we’ve built this relationship has been amazing.”
Whatever uneasy times they went through, it helped them make sure that didn’t happen on future teams.
“It was a lot and put a lot of pressure on me,” Coleman said of that freshman season. “I feel like the team chemistry is much better than it was my freshman year.”
The previous two seasons ended in unexpected bi-district playoff losses. Keller was in danger of being a team with so much promise and so little to show for it.
“They’ve not forgotten those two losses,” Griffiths said.
“A 100 percent redemption story,” Floth said. “Going from my freshman year in the regional tournament to a first-round knockout was detrimental to me and the other girls. So to be able to come back and get this, what we’ve wanted for four years, has been amazing.”