E.A. Sports Today

She’s a natural

Donoho rides Wiedmer’s prolific goal-scoring, refuse-to-lose approach into girls soccer Final Four

Donoho senior Lily Wiedmer always draws a crowd whenever she possesses the ball. On the cover, Wiedmer splits the defense in her signature move. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

GAME ON: Donoho vs. West Morgan, Thursday, 11:30 a.m., John Hunt Park, Huntsville

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Donoho girls soccer coach Jay Jenkins knew as far back as when Lily Wiedmer was 6 years old he wanted his future scoring machine on his team.

She wasn’t even a scorer back then, but what caught Jenkins’ eye was, even at that young age, Wiedmer had the mindset of a player who refused to lose.

It was only a rec league game and Wiedmer was on the opposing team, but Jenkins just liked her headstrong approach and told co-coach Matthew Wright during the match he was going to find a way to get that girl on their team.

Lily Wiedmer has scored 90 goals since moving to forward last season, but she’s always had a take-charge approach regardless where she plays.

That was more than a decade ago. Wiedmer has been a fixture on Jenkins-coached teams ever since and now they’re looking to put an exclamation point on that relationship with a state championship later this week in Huntsville.

The way Wiedmer can control a game gives the Lady Falcons every chance.

“I grew up with her mom and she’s a lot like her; she’s just not going to lose,” Jenkins said. “She’s bound a determined to win at everything she does in this world.

“It was maybe my second season coaching rec and she was on the other team. She was so frustrated on a team that had a supporting cast that couldn’t make her win. Matthew and I were talking at the half and I told him I know that little girl’s parents and I’ll go talk to them. I went up to her momma after the game and said she needs to play for us – we can make her a winner.

“She just has a special kind of motor in her that it doesn’t quit and it doesn’t give up. It always believes it’s going to end on top. Those are qualities you can’t coach. You can’t teach those things. They’re either there or they’re not. They’re definitely in her.”

Wiedmer’s determination – headstrong is the way she puts it – and prolific goal-scoring prowess are big reasons tiny Donoho is playing in the Class 1A-3A girls soccer Final Four in Huntsville later this week. The 1A Lady Falcons (17-1) play 3A West Morgan in Thursday’s 11:30 a.m. semifinal at John Hunt Park.

“I guess I just don’t like the feeling of losing or losing and knowing I didn’t try my hardest for me and my teammates,” Wiedmer said.

There have been examples of that throughout her career. She missed her first soccer practice as a 6-year-old and was mad about it. Moving way ahead on the timeline, she recalled a match a couple seasons ago against rival Sacred Heart in which the teams battled to a scoreless tie in regulation and needed a golden goal to win.

Wiedmer came back from a track meet earlier in the day to play and was frustrated the Lady Falcons could get anything going in regulation. Wright told to just go after it in overtime and within 30 seconds she took the ball and scored. Game over.

The way she scores goals boggles the mind. She has scored 57 in 18 games this season and has 90 of her 133 career goals since becoming a forward last season to complete her steady progression to the front of the attack where the Lady Falcons could take advantage of her strength and speed to move the scoreboard.

She has scored in every game but one this year – the opening-round playoff win over Altamont – and even then her presence had an influence on the outcome because of the way it played her.

“I didn’t think I was going to get that much,” she said. ‘It boggles my mind.”

Of course, she acknowledged she would’ve have had near that many without the help of her teammates – The A-Sisters, you could call them (assisters, get it) — who helped her produce them. Kathleen Seals, Whitney Seals and Constance Hodges (24) have combined for 48 assists this season.

“She’s really good at finishing and we’ve got a lot of girls who are really good at setting her up,” Jenkins said.

“Without them I wouldn’t have 57 goals,” she said. “They have very good vision and they know how to play the game, know how to place the ball, where to place the ball. They have a really good ability to touch the ball the right way.”

It’s all so, uh, natural for her, which is so appropriate because she wrote a “book” as a fourth- or fifth-grader to explain her love for the game. She titled the work “It Comes Naturally,” her homage to the 2010 Selena Gomez hit “Naturally” she absolutely wore out playing during warm-ups that soccer season.

“I think one of my lines in that book was it’s like my safe haven,” she said. “I can literally forget everything, I can take my aggression out on the field. It feels like you’re on top of the world.”

That’s exactly how the Lady Falcons will feel if they can pull this championship out.

“I’ve wanted it my whole career,” she said. “You hear them talk about the volleyball state championships, football and I want something for soccer that I’m very passionate about. I haven’t been able to be involved in the Final Four or a state championship.

“I wouldn’t be able to have the success I’ve had without this team. I want to win it for them. I want to win it for me. I want to win it for the school. That would be a great way to close out my high school career at Donoho.”

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