Livin’ on a Prayer

Tiffany Teubert, Crown Writer

Senior Hannah Villont has been playing for Karl Smith, head coach for the Marian Central Girls’ Varsity Soccer team, since her freshman year. Throughout the four years Villont has had made more memories than she thought she ever would. Every player wants to make a mark on the field, leave an imprint on the team, and Villont has been one of those players. Villont has made an impact on her team with nothing but positivity and support for her teammates. Villont is one player that will be remembered.

Joining the team as a freshman, Villont had no idea what would be in store for her. Villont played on three different levels her freshman year, excelling in her ability to be a versatile player.  Villont reflected on her experience playing at all three levels, “It was crazy, honestly, but playing with other girls that year who were my age too made it easier. It was an honor to play on all those teams, and it gave me the experience I needed to play at the varsity level.” As someone who had played soccer her entire life, Villont’s experience throughout high school is one that will stick with her.  “Soccer has been my favorite sport since I was 3 years old, yet the game changed for me once I reached high school. My experience has been nothing but exciting. Once I got to the high school level, Coach Karl changed me from a offensive to a defensive player, and it was the best thing for myself as an individual.” Coach Karl saw something in Villont that year and knew she could handle the change of positions, where she later excelled tremendously. That year Villont was being trained for State, she just didn’t know it yet.

Villont’s sophomore year was the road to state. The team had the perfect group of girls to take on the challenge and make it all the way to the State final. Villont had been playing outside and/or center back since her freshman year and continued with those positions for the rest of the time playing for Coach Karl. During the season she played alongside her sister, Makala Villont, who later graduated that year. Both Villont sisters had the chance to make life long memories together on the field. “Sophomore year by far was my favorite season. Going to state was an unbelievable experience with my older sister and all of my closest friends. ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ was our song, and chanting that to every single game that year was memorable.”  Not only was the song shared with her sister, but it was the team’s song as well.

Singing “Livin’ on a Prayer” after every win was the team’s good luck charm for them to make it to state. The road to state was surreal for Villont,  “I remember all of it like it was yesterday. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and even though we got second place, those memories still take a special place in my life. We were a family and gave it our all to get there; we deserved to be there.” Even though the team did not come home with the win, Villont recalls fun moments along the way, “Karlie Blaz taking a swim in the ponds made after a huge storm is definitely one that sticks out. Another one I’ll never forget happened before the state match; we did yoga in the pool in full clothes so that we could all stretch out.” Villont’s sophomore year was definitely one for the book; from playing with her sister, to state, and all the little things in between, this was her favorite year.

As junior year came around for Villont, the season continued to take a steady ride, even with the loss of star senior players. The team made it all the way to sectionals; unfortunately, this is where the season made its final stop. Although the team was defeated, the family was not, “Each year, the team has evolved, and very talented players have left to go onto college. But our soccer program has always remained a family. Our team has always stayed supportive of each other.” Although Villont’s junior year was no road to state, Villont and her team still had an unbelievable season and were happy with their outcome.

For any graduating senior, it’s the time to make the memories last and stick forever. Villont, who is not playing college soccer, is making her last season one to remember, “It’s definitely bittersweet; I will miss it all so much, especially since I will not be playing at the college level. It just makes this final year so much more special. For these past four years, I have had the opportunity to play alongside Alyssa Sutherland, Tiffany Teubert, Addison Fortin, and Lucca Kenyon. There is nothing more that I will miss than them and how talented they all are. Those four girls have had my back no matter what, and I know they will go on to do amazing things.” For Villont, even though this is the end of her soccer career, she has created some of the best of her high school memories and knows her next chapter is coming. During the last home game of the season, the seniors and parents are honored for all of the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears shed throughout all four seasons. But this is the final hooray for the senior athletes, “It will mean another chapter of my life is coming to an end. Sure, it’s sad, but I will always be grateful for what the Marian Central soccer program has done for me, along with Karl. Also, being able to thank my parents for all the support they have given me all these years in school and in soccer is special.” Villont’s family and friends, and especially Coach Karl, have seen her progress and growth since she was a freshman.

Villont has made it four years through soccer with many different coaches and players, but Coach Karl was always there. Villont reflects on who her mentor was her senior year, “I would say my entire team has been my mentor, pushing me to always do my best and play my hardest. Alyssa Sutherland has definitely been a huge influence this year, too. She is a fantastic player who has shown me what it means to play to the best of your ability. But most of all, Coach Karl has mentored me, not just this year, but for these past four years. He has expanded my knowledge as a player.” Although Villont feels strongly about her teammates as mentors and the support they give, the most influential part came from her coach. Coach Karl has been playing and coaching soccer his entire life; he has only coached Villont for a short four years but has impacted her greatly, “Karl has always been an amazing coach to all of us. He always knows what he is doing, no matter how crazy his ideas are. I have just learned to have faith in him because his plans always turn out just the way they should because he wants the best for all of us. For example, my whole life I have been on offense, and he moved me to defense my sophomore year. It was the best thing a coach could have done for me; it changed the way I played the game.” Coach Karl knew what Villont could actually do; he has supported her and challenged her since freshman year. Villont played side by side with Mikayla in her final game, the state final. This was a very bittersweet moment for Villont as it was their last game together. “Going to state sophomore year and getting to play with my sister right by my side was amazing. I’ve also been able to play with my little sister and watch her grow as a player, which has been incredible.” Villont has had the chance to have a sister leave and have another one come, watching them grow and flourish, and through it all, Coach Karl has been with Villont every step of the way, always supporting her.

Through Villont’s entire high school experience she has made a name for herself and her soccer career. It is important for her to leave a mark here at the school, Villont states, “I want to leave behind that I worked hard to be the best I could be and that I was a supportive teammate no matter what. Marian soccer as a sport that needs to be recognized as full of girls who give it their all. As a program, the legacy I hope people remember is that no matter what class we were in, we still went to state.”  Villont has impacted her teammates with love, kindness, and support, leaving her mark on the soccer team forever.