Rachel Ressler sees open people.
OK, so it wasn’t as dramatic as Haley Joel Osment’s line in “The Sixth Sense,” but the Desert Vista senior does seem to have an extra ability on the soccer field that separates her from others.
“It started when I was younger,” Ressler said. “I can predict what people are going to do. It’s like I see what is going to happen on the field before it actually happens. I guess it is something you can work on, but it’s kind of a sixth sense or a natural ability.”
Whatever it might be, it has served Ressler well in helping her progress through the levels of soccer. Ressler, who plays at the club level for Soccer Club del Sol, has committed to play the next four years at Oklahoma and has had a tryout with the Filipino National team.
In other words, the girl can play.
“You normally don’t get girls of her ability,” Desert Vista coach Marvin Hypolite said. “She plays the game with intensity. She can have an attack mode or a defensive mode, whatever she needs. She can see the game quicker than most girls that I’ve coached. She gets the information and she knows what to do with it.”
Ressler also knows about last chances and a large senior class is ready to make the most of it.
The Thunder (20-2 entering Thursday’s regular season finale) have nine seniors, including fellow captains Alison Richardson, Kayla Week and Hannah Stevens, and they are openly talking about getting rings to remember the season by once they go their separate ways next fall.
“Most of us have played with each other so long and we are going do our best to win state,” Ressler said. “We want to make it a memorable season.”
The Thunder is well on its way to doing just that considering their lone on-field loss — they had to forfeit the season-opening win over Mountain Pointe because a suspended player participated — came against Pinnacle, the same program that knocked the Thunder out of the postseason last year.
“We got down a couple of goals and everyone kind of stopped playing,” Ressler said. “If we don’t let that happen again we can beat anyone.”
The biggest opposition appears to be Highland and Pinnacle. The Thunder beat Highland 2-1 in early December and lost 3-1 to Pinnacle on the last day of December. The Division I bracket will be announced on Friday and what side of the bracket those teams fall on will determine which one has an easier route to the title.
“I think we can do it no matter who we play,” Ressler said. “We just have to keep getting better each time out and never take anyone for granted.”
Hypolite doesn’t take what Ressler means to the team for granted, either.
“We are going to see her at the national level,” he said. “She’s got it. Once she gets to college and competes at that level she’ll get even better. I wouldn’t be surprised at all (to see her make a national team).”
When asked about playing at the national level, Ressler said she wasn’t thinking that far ahead yet. She didn’t want to take any of that sixth sense off winning a state title.
“It’s a huge commitment and I don’t want to put it ahead of school,” she said. “We just want to finish with a state title and then I will start thinking about all of the other stuff after that.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.