Soccer

Journal Girls Soccer Player Of The Year: Spencer’s Alexa Johnson boosts Tigers energy

Journal Girls Soccer Player Of The Year: Spencer's Alexa Johnson boosts Tigers energy

John Hansel never expected Alexa Johnson to have the type of season she was going to have in 2021.

Hansel, the coach for the Spencer High School girls soccer coach, decided to move Johnson from the defender line up to the striking line.

She had scored 14 goals as a freshman from the left defender position, and Hansel knew that Johnson had enough speed to be able to be a potent scorer.

Hansel was right.

Johnson scored 54 goals throughout the season that ended at the IGHSAU tournament. The Tigers junior was second among all Iowa scorers, only trailing Waverly-Shell Rock’s Kenzie Roling (76).

Johnson’s high-scoring season earned her The Journal’s girls soccer Player of the Year award for the 2021 season.

Fast forward to this season, and Johnson got off to a hot start.

Johnson scored eight goals — yes, eight — during the Tigers’ season opener against Spirit Lake.

“It just looked kind of effortless, I guess,” Hansel said. “It looked like she, maybe, wasn’t as solid as she had been in some other games, but she still was producing. So, it was really interesting to see that.”

When Johnson was playing at left defender, Hansel noticed how much energy she had. When the last few minutes of the second half roll around, most players get tired.

Just like the Energizer bunny, Johnson never got tired. She just kept going.

“It was fun to watch,” Hansel said.

Johnson has carried that energy to her new position.

Take the match against Dowling Catholic, for example.

The Tigers trailed the Maroons 1-0 in a mid-season match. They hadn’t trailed many times before that point of the season, as Spencer had two losses at that point.

During the match, Dowling’s back line passed the ball back to the goalie. The Marrons didn’t expect the Tigers to attack.

Johnson did, however.

Johnson jumped in front of the pass and tied the match at 1-1.

Dowling ended up winning that match 2-1, but that goal gave the Tigers confidence in their junior forward.

“You could really see the belief that we could have won that game from that, just that one play that she had made,” Hansel said. “I think the team could see that a lot, like, when you’re forward and there’s 10 players behind you that kind of gives them energy to see someone’s energy like that.”

Hansel didn’t recall giving Johnson many coaching points throughout the season. There wasn’t much she was doing wrong.

However, there is always room for improvement. Hansel believed that Johnson could improve on her balance throughout the offseason.

There were times where she’d fall to the ground.

Johnson has been out to the Spencer football field working on that and more.

Johnson has also been attending summer soccer camps, including one this weekend at Central College in Pella.

In terms of college interest, Johnson is interested in three or four Iowa programs, according to Hansel. Hansel wouldn’t disclose which programs those were.

Johnson isn’t the only Tigers player working to get better.

According to Hansel, about 12 or so players join the Tigers coach for twice-weekly workouts. Hansel isn’t necessarily leading those workouts. It’s more so the players, wanting to advance farther than the state semifinals.

The Tigers lost to the Go-Hawks in the semifinals.

The hope is to make it to the title match in 2022.

“They just want it more than they ever have before,” Hansel said.

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