Summer of the Griz: The newcomers

Emily Kardash

Emily Kardash

July 2, 2012

With America's summer holiday upon us, we started wondering: How does a Division I soccer player spend her summer? The defending Big Sky Conference champions checked in recently with all the details.

Second-year coach Mark Plakorus dispatched his players following the spring semester with a simple request: Enjoy your summer, but be sure you make the right choices when it comes to your summer workouts so you're ready to go when we come back.

The Montana soccer team will be the first program to start up when the Grizzlies report to campus on Tuesday, July 31, for physicals, equipment checkout, individual and team meetings and photos. The team will hold its first practice session on Wednesday, Aug. 1, and open its regular season with a match at Wyoming on Friday, Aug. 17.

Today the team's newcomers, defending Big Sky champions by association, fill us in on summers that are less than a month from coming to an end (a particularly distasteful thought for Emily Kardash, who only days ago got out of school). The common themes: It's wicked hot in Texas, and spending lots time at the pool or the lake is the best option to while away your final summer before taking the plunge into college life.

Mackenzie Akins (Freshman, forward, Lake Elsinore, Calif.)

The majority of my summer has been spent preparing for the Griz soccer season. I have worked hard to complete the team fitness packet, and I have been playing with my high school's boys' team to keep my skills up. However, I did take a break from my training to spend two weeks in sunny Havasu (Ariz.). I had a blast riding Sea-Doos, fishing, wakeboarding, innertubing, riding on the boat and playing cards. But now that I'm home it is back to work, soccer and salvaging the time I have left with my friends and family. Also, counting down the days until I get to Missoula!



Tess Brenneman (Freshman, defender, Kalispell, Mont.)

So far this summer I have been enjoying my final days living at home and hanging out with lots of family and friends. I've been doing odd jobs around the valley, from Bible school to babysitting to soccer camps. I'm playing on the Flathead Rapids soccer team, which is a compilation of girls from around the valley and some from Missoula of various ages who travel around to different games and tournaments. Still waiting on the nice, sunny weather so I can get out on the lake!

Mary Gintz (Freshman, defender, San Jose, Calif.)

This summer my club team made it to regionals in Arizona, so most of my time went to practicing and preparing for that while also keeping up with the workout packet we got from Coach Plakorus. My team unfortunately lost in the quarterfinals after going through overtime and 11 penalty kicks. It was one-hundred-degree weather nearly the entire time, but it was still a lot of fun and a good, last trip with my club team. Other than that I don't have any big plans for this summer. I've mostly been going to the beach, wakeboarding and hanging out with friends.

Emily Kardash (Freshman, midfielder, Calgary, Alberta)

Spring was busy in Calgary. After returning from vacation in Costa Rica I received my summer training package from Montana. In addition to the summer training program I have continued to play with my U18 team, although the cold weather has kept us practicing indoors for most of the spring. School in Alberta finishes up at the end of June, which is much later than any other school system. I have just finished writing my final diploma exams, and my graduation (was last week, June 30). I'm excited to begin my summer and enjoy time at my cabin in Montana.

Taylor Rhodes (Freshman, defender, Fort Worth, Texas)

This summer I've been killing myself on the tracks in Texas to prepare for the fall season. It's constantly on my mind how fun and exciting Missoula will be when I finally get to call it my new home. Here and there I take babysitting jobs for family friends, and I've kept my job in retail to get discounts on jeans and gear for my destination July 31. Friends and I go out for random frozen yogurt runs after lazy days at the pool. I'm trying my absolute best not to think about parting from my current soccer girls, but I know I'll join a new family in Missoula. In between I'm buying a pillow here and a piece of clothing there, all in preparation to beginning my freshman year this fall.

Madison Vessel (Freshman, midfielder/defender, Dallas, Texas)

Summer has been great so far. I haven't been out of Texas yet, but I really wish I had made a trip somewhere. The weather here is a killer! Other than graduating high school and getting ready for Montana, summer hasn't been too busy. I've been hanging out around the pool trying to cool off after workouts and spending time with my family before I leave. It has been a relaxed but very anxious summer, and the days are getting closer before I leave for the big M!

Savannah Witt (Freshman, forward/midfielder, Billings, Mont.)

Immediately following graduation I travelled to Denver to play for the super 20's Rapid women's team. After being there for two weeks I got hit and got a concussion. Despite that, it was a great experience, and I really enjoyed it a lot. So now I am working on recovering for the fall. I have done a lot of hanging with friends and family, and I have been working and soaking up the sun!

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