Team of the Week: St. Johns girls soccer letting defense lead the way

ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WLNS) – The St. Johns girls soccer team hasn’t lost since its season opener, boasting a 6-1-4 record this season.

What’s even more impressive, though, is the fact the Redwings haven’t given up a goal in over two weeks and have given up just five all season.

It’s why they’re our 6 Sports Team of the Week.

“Defense is a big focus because it’s all about pride,” said senior center back Abby Hendy. “It’s about standing for our school and making sure people know we’re not here to mess around, like we want to win games. So it’s really important, it’s always an emphasis that Coach Nevins has had and we just have really strong backs and really strong people that can sub in for us.”

“We kind of have some goals that we set for each other of characteristics that we’re really focusing on and that’s being competitive, communicating and being disciplined,” added head coach Ryan Nevins. “Along with our playing style and our really strong defense, we’ve had some success so far this year.”

Hendy is part of a group of Redwing seniors who have played at the varsity level all four years of high school.

St. Johns finished with a losing record during the group’s freshman and sophomore years before finishing 7-5-5 last spring. For Hendy and company, the early struggles made the leap the team has taken this spring even more satisfying.

“There was definitely a lot of pressure to start but I think that hard pressure to begin with is something that’s helped us grow to where we are now,” said Hendy. “We just know it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we can push through anything and we have the grit to just keep going.”

“To see them from where they started to where they are now is amazing,” said Nevins, who is in his third year as the varsity coach after a couple seasons coaching the JV team. “I started working with some of them in the summer before their freshman year. I saw the potential in the senior group, and that was before I knew about any of the underclassmen [we have now], and I thought that when [this group] becomes seniors, this could be a huge year. Every year we’ve gotten a little bit better and better and it’s just great to see.”

The Redwings are 2-0-2 in CAAC Red conference play. They are one of three teams in the conference that has yet to lose a league game, joining Haslett (3-0-1) and Mason (1-0-3).

St. Johns plays Haslett in its Senior Night game on May 8 and both teams could clinch at least a share of the conference championship with a win.

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