Whittell soccer coach overcomes cancer, looks forward to upcoming season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell soccer coach overcomes cancer, looks forward to upcoming season

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

No matter how his Whitell High Warriors perform in 2009, coach Tony Cormier knows that this season can only be better than his last.

Even though the Warriors qualified for the Northern 3A regional girls’ soccer tournament last year, Cormier was dealing with a much more serious matter.

He was battling for his his life.

Cormier, Whittell’s third-year coach, had a tumor removed from his stomach and underwent 15 weeks of chemotherapy treatment.

“Last year was pretty miserable. Here I am only 30 years old and I tell you what, I couldn’t get off the bench to clap for a goal,” he said.

The school kept Cormier’s condition quiet as he persevered through the season.

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“The school, the kids and parents helped me keep my head up. That definitely meant a lot to me,” Cormier said.

The cancer hasn’t returned to Cormier’s stomach, and he is excited about the Warriors’ upcoming season.

“I’m feeling a million times better,” he said.

With Cormier’s starting defense returning, another postseason berth is within reach. Anchoring the formidable defense is senior

Gabriella Tracy, who was selected as first-team Northern 3A League defender a year ago. Tracy will be flanked by junior defenders Meredith Grosso and Taryn Borne. Veteran sweeper Sammy Brumbach, a junior, is another key part of a defense that will try to limit the shots on an unproven goalie.

“Our defense has been solid the last two years, and I don’t see it being any different this year,” Cormier said.

Of course Cormier’s current team would be a bonafide title contender if goalkeeper Hannah Daly hadn’t graduated a year early to attend the University of North Carolina. Daly, a 17-year-old freshman, saw action in top-ranked UNC’s first game on Aug. 22.

“If there is a struggle, it will be there,” Cormier said. “I’m working with a couple of kids. It will work out.”

Sophomores and possibly some freshmen will fill in some of the holes in the starting lineup.

“I’m excited to see how they are going to step up and change the team dynamics,” Cormier said. “We have a strong team. We lost a good bunch of seniors, but we have sophomores and freshmen ready to step up.”

The Warriors were scheduled to open their season Friday in the Quincy tournament, but Cormier decided to push back their opener after being unable to field enough players for the two-day event. Whittell’s first scheduled game is Tuesday vs. Yerington in Zephyr Cove.

2009 Whittell High School

girls’ soccer schedule

Date Opponent Time

Sept. 1 YERINGTON 6 p.m.

Sept. 3 At Fernley 6 p.m.

Sept. 4 At Lovelock 3 p.m.

Sept. 12 LOWRY noon

Sept. 15 DAYTON 6 p.m.

Sept. 18 At Battle Mountain 5 p.m.

Sept. 19 At Spring Creek noon

Sept. 25 At Incline 5 p.m.

Oct. 1 SPARKS 6 p.m.

Oct. 3 At Truckee noon

Oct. 5 QUINCY 5 p.m.

Oct. 8 NO. TAHOE 6 p.m.

Oct. 15 INCLINE 6 p.m.

Oct. 17 At Spark noon

Oct. 21 At Yerington 6 p.m.

Oct. 27 TRUCKEE 6 p.m.

Oct. 29 At North Tahoe 5 p.m.

NOTE: Home games are in ALL CAPS.