Skylar Tripp kicks the ball away from the Hesston defensive zone during a game last fall. Tripp, a 2013 Moffat County High School graduate, had the second-most saves in a single season in Hesston women's soccer history during her freshman year with the Larks.

Hesston College women's soccer/courtesy

Skylar Tripp kicks the ball away from the Hesston defensive zone during a game last fall. Tripp, a 2013 Moffat County High School graduate, had the second-most saves in a single season in Hesston women's soccer history during her freshman year with the Larks.

Moffat County grad Tripp helped guide Hesston to first playoff appearance

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Skylar Tripp’s exploits as goalie for the Moffat County girls soccer team are well-known. She anchored the Moffat County defense and owns the school record for saves in a career, but was still a bit nervous about playing goalie at the next level.

Turns out, all that worrying was for nothing. Tripp had a stellar freshman season at Hesston College in Hesston, Kan., building on the reputation she gained as a goalie for the Bulldogs from 2009-2013.

“I went into the season and was kind of scared actually, thinking it was going to be so much to handle,” Tripp said of her early days at Hesston. “But with my coach Bryan and the group of girls I was with, it was an overall good experience.”

That’s an understatement. As a freshman at the two-year college Tripp started every game for the Larks and recorded the second-most saves in a season in school history. In the process, she helped Hesston earn the eight-seed in the Region VI playoffs of the National Junior College Athletic Association playoffs, the first time Hesston women’s soccer has ever made the postseason.

“That was pretty cool, making the playoffs my senior year (at Moffat County) for the first time in a long time, then being a part of the first team to do it at Hesston,” Tripp said.

Part of her wariness entering the season was playing soccer in an unfamiliar situation. Tripp was coached by her father, Harry, in high school and played with the same group of girls in Craig for years.

Learning a new set of players’ style, along with a different brand of coaching, was intimidating at first. But she grew into her role as a defensive leader.

“Being a freshman and having all but one of the defenders as sophomores in front of me, it felt weird telling them what to do,” she said. “I didn’t want them to think I knew better than them, but they let me know that they wanted me to talk more. They needed it.”

She became a stronger communicator on the field, one thing Tripp admits she’s needed to work on for awhile, and her coach, Bryan Kehr, said she was a big part of the team’s success in the fall.

“Skylar is dependable,” Kehr said. “She has good hands and she doesn’t make mistakes. In the offseason we hope to work at her quickness and just athleticism in general. I’m excited about her improving, because she’s a hard-worker.”

Tripp said she got along well with teammates and felt Kehr’s personal approach to coaching made the move to a college team with all new faces an easier transition than she expected. Kehr’s open-door policy made her first semester of college a good one, as well.

Kehr is equally impressed with his goalie’s ability to adjust to the more independent lifestyle that comes with being at school away from home.

“I think she’s making good choices,” he said. “It’s a process to become an adult. She’s doing a good job of making good choices and I’m excited about her potential for next year.”

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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