St. Peter girls soccer senior captains Tori Kmett and Halla Dontje Lindell play side-by-side in the same position, but they have different types of bodies and strengths.
They both play halfbacks or defensive midfielders who are between the defense and the midfield. It’s a position that’s 80 percent defense and 20 percent attack.
Kmett is 5 feet tall, and Dontje Lindell is 5-9, but both play an aggressive style.
“I’m really aggressive to the ball,” Dontje Lindell said. “I’m tall and strong, so I can push people around and hold my own. I also think I’m pretty fast.
Kmett said, “I’m aggressive, too. I don’t think height matters because I’m pretty short. It’s never really brought me down. I just try to use it to my advantage and be really quick around them.”
Height has advantages, such as reaching the high balls, but soccer players of a variety of heights can be successful.
“It’s definitely a cool sport that way,” Dontje Lindell said. “Anybody can do it. It depends on the kind of player you are. Tori has become kind of a low, physical player.”
Kmett also said her strengths are communication and positivity.
“My strengths are probably being vocal on the field and trying to be as positive as I can with the players,” Kmett said. “Trying to be the leader on the field as best as I can be with all the younger players.”
Kmett and Dontje Lindell have both played different positions over the years.
Kmett started on defense on the varsity in ninth-grade. But the last two years she’s moved to halfback.
Dontje Lindell used to be more heavy on the attack as a midfielder or striker as a freshman, but she moved back.
“I still like to be on the attack in a background way,” Dontje Lindell said.
Last year’s leading scorer, forward Emily Lind, will miss her senior season with ACL knee surgery, so the Saints will have to find scoring from other players.
“We’re losing Emily Lind up top; that’s going to be a big downer for us,” Kmett said.” She tore her ACL and just had surgery a couple of days ago. She was out here at practice supporting us, so it was really nice to see her out here.
“She was our top scorer and all-state honorable mention. We still have Marta (Springer) and Maggie (Anderson) up top that will fill it in.”
Despite the loss of Lind, one of the fastest players, Kmett said, “We’re a pretty quick team. We’ve got a lot of speed.”
Another strength of the Saints is team chemistry.
“We have a really good team aspect,” Kmett said. “This whole summer we’ve been trying to bond as much as possible. As a team, as long as we stay connected together and just focus on our goals, I think we’ll be good. I know that we can do it. Each and every one of us has to want it.”
Dontje Lindell likes the underclasswomen.
“We have a lot of younger kids,” Dontje Lindell said. “The junior class is really big, and they’re up-and–coming players that are becoming starters and on the field all the time. They know each other really well, so it’s a team not just among the varsity but the whole program.
“We’ all practicing together this whole week. We really get to know each other. That’s what makes it fun. We have friends on the team, and we like to hang out and do something really great together.”
The Saints also have a strong senior class of seven: Kmett, Dontje Lindell, Springer, Sally Morrow, Kaylee Neubuaer, Noelle Neubauer and Lind as a manager.
Numbers are down a bit from the usual 50 players making up the A, B and C squads, but there are still 42 players.
“We’ll make the best of it,” Dontje Lindell said. “C-squad is a skill developing team. Some girls split time between two teams. It’s the future of our program.”
Kmett and Dontje Lindell agree on the team goals: repeating as conference champions and getting back to state.
St. Peter won the conference for the first time last season in the South Central. St. Peter is part of a new conference called the Big South, but only Worthington is new to the conference and Worthington has been on St. Peter’s schedule before, so there are not any different teams on the schedule.
“We’re in the Big South, so that would be cool to start off right away with that and take the title,” Kmett said.
St. Peter made it to state three straight years from 2010 to 2012 but just missed out last season.
“Making it to state in eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade was pretty awesome,” Kmett said. “Not a lot of teams get to do it three years in a row. It was a great experience to be able to do that. That was the biggest highlight of my soccer career.
“Going to state would be super. We never made it past the first round. We want to win the first round at state.”
It’s never easy to make state, but Dontje Lindell said, “We can do it. We want to win the conference and go to state. And do well in state. We want to win.”
Dontje Lindell said her career highlight was the first-round state game two years ago that St. Peter lost in overtime against Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
“It was a really intense game,” Dontje Lindell said. “It was probably the best soccer we’ve ever played as a team. It was so much fun.”
Reach Sports Editor Pat Beck at 931-8566, or follow him on Twitter.com @SPHSportsPat