How do you turn around a winless team?
If you’re Rebecca Kyriss, keeper and sweeper on the Libby girl’s soccer team, the answer is to just be yourself.
The senior, in only her second season on the pitch, has been instrumental in the Lady Loggers improvement from last year’s 0-9-2 record (with no disrespect intended to senior strikers Sarah Nash and Elly Webster, sophomore defender Breanna Opland, sophomore midfielder Holly Leggins and the other girls playing their hearts out) and has hoisted them to 2-5-2 and a shot at playoffs.
Kyriss, who goes by Becca, was on her way to all-conference keeper selection when – accounts vary as to why – she moved to a defensive back/sweeper position, a raven-haired brick wall protecting new goalie Danni Hawthorne, a freshman.
“Danni…she’s doing very good,” Kyriss said. “I just want to get on the field and help the team.”
Kyriss’ calm demeanor belies her inner attitude, a smoldering anger and determination that makes her a potent weapon on defense.
All it takes is a glowering look and a powerful shoulder to send opposing strikers scampering. If Libby fielded 11 Rebeccas, the other team might stay on the bus. A forfeit might be worth not being knocked to the ground for 80 minutes.
“She’s a big, physical player, and she’s not afraid to use it,” said head coach Joe Cik. “She’s one of the reasons I continue to enjoy coaching this team.”
All the fury behind her placid expression makes a tremendous athlete, but it doesn’t make an easy to coach girl.
“She can be…tough to deal with,” Cik said. “But that’s what makes her so special.”
Although only listed at 5-foot, 6-inches, Kyriss seems to tower over the competition, and was extremely helpful in overpowering Polson in a 5-2 win over the Lady Pirates.
“That was an amazing win,” Kyriss said. “The passing was great. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing.”
With conference games against Polson and Whitefish this week, the conference playoff picture is a tad murky, but if Kyriss can keep her attitude turned outward, Libby just might be looking at a longer season.
“If she focuses on the other team, she is unstoppable,” Cik said. “But sometimes she turns it on herself.”