Female Area Athlete of the Week: Swantek makes Little Falls history
Little Falls soccer player earns Female Area Athlete of the Week
Kendal Swantek engraved herself into Little Falls history.
Her first goal Monday, Sept. 12, against St. Cloud Apollo made her the all-time points leader for the Flyers at 89. She added a second goal against the Eagles in the 2-2 tie to make it 90.
The game prior against Melrose, Swantek recorded a hat trick and an assist which put her into a tie for the career points lead in Little Falls history.
“It was definitely a good team effort,” Swantek said. “We were passing the ball up to each other quickly and just finishing goals really well.”
After scoring two goals in the Flyers’ win against Becker, Swantek’s career totals stand at 64 goals and 28 assists. She is second all-time in goals and first in assists.
The leader for Little Falls in goals is Mikayla Houdek, who graduated last year and was Swantek’s running mate.
“She lost her running mate last year who was an All-State player,” Little Falls head coach Scott Orians said. “But we knew the offense was going to have to be different. I think with Kendal she is not trying to do too much this year and is playing the way we are asking.”
Said Swantek: “It’s been a big adjustment without Mikayla. Her and I just worked really well together. We knew where each other was at and even though we don’t have that this year it’s been nice to work with other girls.”
Last season, Swantek scored 20 goals, which is second-most in Flyers’ history in a single season — Houdek scored 36 goals last year. Swantek also had 16 assists last season.
With her career total of 64 goals, Swantek’s next goal will make her the all-time leader for the Flyers. This season she has 12 goals and two assists.
Now a senior, Orians said he has seen Swantek improve with her footwork from last year.
“That has really helped her get through defenders, keep the ball close and that’s really important as you get older is to find ways to improve,” Orians said.
Swantek said: “With my shooting, I’ve been able to hit the corners a lot better. I’ve had better positioning on the field as well.”
Swantek didn’t know she was approaching the points record, but said it still meant a lot to break it.
“I’ve always just wanted to do my best,” she said. “It’s so nice to see those numbers and see that I’m succeeding. It was special because I didn’t know I was even close until Scott told me after the game. It was really exciting to share that moment as a senior.”
Orians said the fact she wasn’t aware of her record-breaking night is a testament to her as a team player.
“She’s been awesome at keeping her teammates involved and connected to what she’s doing,” Orians said. “She’s not afraid to work with the younger girls to make them better. She wants to work with the younger kids who are working hard. She’s asking to work with different kids to see what it will look like.
“Kendal is not a super vocal leader, but she is a really funny kid and fun to joke with and be around.”
Swantek said her favorite part of playing soccer for Little Falls has been the team.
“Everyone has just been so supportive and that’s what I like about playing on a team,” she said. “I just love playing with my teammates. Coach is always encouraging me to be my best and cheering me on which helps a lot.”
Swantek is undecided on where she will attend college. Wherever she goes, she wants to continue to play soccer.
“If I don’t play for a college team I’ll definitely do club,” she said.
Other notable performances:
Volleyball: Jessica Much, Aitkin, recorded 45 digs last week.
Malae Nolan, Little Falls, recorded 56 digs last week.
Maci Martini, Pequot Lakes, recorded 25 kills, 18 digs and two ace serves last week.
Madison Carsten, Wadena-Deer Creek, recorded 32 kills and 28 digs last week.
Katie Blaha, Verndale, recorded 52 kills and 55 digs last week.
Ashley Kimman, Pierz, recorded 21 kills, 10 digs and nine set assists last week.
Abi Martin, Pequot Lakes, recorded 52 set assists last week.
Tennis: Ronnie Noska, Staples-Motley, is 12-0 at No. 2 singles.
Ellie Ouradnik, Pequot Lakes, is 20-1 at No. 4 singles and won the Moose Tournament.
Cross-Country: Rian Zutter, Pequot Lakes, won the Crosslake Invite in 22:45.2.
School: Little Falls
Highlights: She recorded a hat trick against Melrose and one goal against Zimmerman last week.