When the Shorecrest girls’ soccer team played host to Holy Names on Tuesday, it was a meeting of two top-10 teams.
But the non-league game also had a deeper connection: Shorecrest coach Mindy Dalziel got to coach against her former coach at Shorecrest, Teddy Mitalas, now the head man at Holy Names.
“I’ve always called him papa,” Dalziel said. “He’s like my second dad. He’s one of the main reasons I became a coach.”
Dalziel played for Mitalas for four years at Shorecrest, starting each season and winning two state titles along the way. She had always loved soccer, she said, but it’s because of the way Mitalas coached and interacted with his players that she took up coaching once her playing career ended.
Holy Names, it should be noted, beat Shorecrest 3-0 on Tuesday night.
“I fell in love with coaching because how he treated everybody and how successful he was and the connections he made with his players,” she said. “And he can remember everybody that ever played for him. It’s amazing.”
Mitalas, who coached for 18 years at Shorecrest, isn’t the least bit surprised that Dalziel became a coach.
“Even when I had her as a youth, she was coaching little kids back in the day,” he said. “I knew she was going to become a coach. And I’m happy to see her coaching at Shorecrest and taking over the realm there.”
Yet Tuesday’s game also served another purpose. Both teams received an early-season gauge for where they stand. As Dalziel said, the two teams could one day meet in the state tournament later this season, and a game like this gives the schools a sense of weaknesses.
Holy Names, which starts eight seniors, is ranked third in 3A while Shorecrest is ranked seventh.
“You don’t want to play easy teams and go ahead and play them out and feel comfortable,” Mitalas said. “You want to play tough teams so you can see where teams are breaking you down at and practice on those.”
In the end, though, neither coach cared as much about a win or loss as they cared about the chance to simply compete against a familiar face on the opposite sideline.
“I don’t want to lose and she doesn’t want to lose,” Mitalas said before the game. “But the other part of it is just the fun of the game.”
Players to watch for Holy Names:
Katie Chandler, midfielder
Mackenzie Olinger, midfielder
Julia Hawn, forward
A.J. Fischer, defender
Emily Suhadolink, forward
Players to watch for Shorecrest:
Frida Swensen, goalkeeper
Amelia Fhlor, defender
Sophia Fhlor, forward
Kate Hildahl, midfielder