'Soccer mom' coach leads Ashland to head of conferenceAshland defeated Duluth Marshall, 6-2, on Monday afternoon, extending its unbeaten streak and taking command of the Lake Superior Conference.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
Simply calling Anne Whiting a soccer mom doesn’t do her justice.
Whiting, who coaches Ashland’s girls’ soccer team in the spring, has spent her past two autumns coaching the boys’ team.
The rare double duty obviously is working.
Ashland defeated Duluth Marshall, 6-2, on Monday afternoon, extending its unbeaten streak and taking command of the Lake Superior Conference. Brenton McPeak scored three goals, and Zach Whiting added a pair to lead the Oredockers (13-0-1 overall, 4-0 LSC) back from a 2-1 halftime deficit.
“We are a very versatile team; we have a lot of weapons,” Anne Whiting said. “We got into a rhythm and started seeing the whole field, and we took advantage of our speed. We love to play possession ball, but we have the ability to slip one through and run onto it.”
That’s exactly what they did on the go-ahead goal as leading scorer Logan Tamke ran down a long pass and beat the goalkeeper with a low shot for his 17th goal of the season eight minutes into the second half. McPeak did likewise on the Oredockers’ fifth goal 10 minutes later, also netting his 17th of the season.
“We came out in that second half energized,” said Zach Whiting, a sophomore midfielder. “We talked about coming out and giving our all. I don’t think we’ve ever beaten Marshall, and we really wanted that win.”
Older brother Thomas Whiting, the team’s starting goalkeeper, says there’s two main reasons for the Oredockers’ success.
“Chemistry-wise, we’re just amazing,” he said, “and staying positive by not getting on each others’ backs.”
Zach and Thomas are both used to being coached by their mother, who instructed them at the youth soccer level from the time they were about 6.
“Nobody notices she’s a woman,” Thomas said. “She knows what she’s doing, contrary to some parents.”
His brother concurred: “Everyone respects her, and she does a nice job with the boys and girls. And whenever we go home, I get a talk about what I should do. For the most part, she treats Thomas and I like everyone else, but we get extra coaching tips at home.”
Coach Whiting, who began the girls program 13 years ago and coached daughters Annika and Amanda to the state tournament, said she treats everyone the same.
“When they are out there on the field, I don’t think of them as my sons,” she said. “They are part of the team, and you make coaching decisions based on the personnel, not on their relationship with you.”
Whiting has helped out coaching at Northland College, too.
“I’m used to working with guys’ teams,” she said. “The guys are great. I don’t know that they think too differently about having a female coach rather than a male coach. I demand a lot from the players, and I think I get that from them.
“They’re all teenagers, and they bring in their own baggage. One difference is that guys say what they think and then are done with it … but I don’t think there’s much difference.”
Duluth Marshall 2-0—2
First half — 1. A, Brenton McPeak, 8th; 2. DM, Killian McKee (penalty kick), 23rd; 3. DM, Joe Fairbanks, 33rd.
Second half — 4. Zachary Whiting, 46th; 5. A, Logan Tamke, 48th; 6. A, McPeak, 52nd; 7. A, McPeak, 58th; 8. A, Z. Whiting, 61st.