Over a decade removed from the first time Teaghen and Addy Sweckard started passing a soccer ball to each other in their front yard, Teaghen was first tasked with playing without her sister for the first time.
While the Buffalo girls were in the midst of what would become a 14-match winning streak, Addy suffered a season-ending knee injury. So she was relegated to the sidelines for the end of the regular season and last weekend’s Wyoming State High School Class 3A Girls Soccer Championship. Buffalo dealt with a series of injuries throughout the season but possibly none hurt more than the loss of Addy.
“I’m used to being out there and keeping up with Teaghen,” Addy said. “But now I’m used to sitting on the bench and cheering on my team. That’s all I can do.”
The Bison were forced to play the final three matches of the regular season and the state tournament without half of the dynamic sister tandem, both of whom were named three-time all-state selections earlier this week. While all three of those final regular-season matches ended in shutouts, the Bison offense was out of sync without one of its key cogs.
Those problems even persisted into the state tournament, where Buffalo started with a 2-0 win over Lander. The offense sputtered throughout the match and was lifted by a Lander own goal before Teaghen sent an arching shot over the keeper and into the net to ice the match late. She was surprised the shot even went in because her foot got stuck before firing away.
If there’s one Bison who needed an adjustment playing without Addy, it was her own sister.
“I used to just get the ball and know that Addy is right there but now I don’t,” Teaghen said. “We’ve had some players really step up and step in so I’m really happy they’re doing good at Addy’s position.”
Following Buffalo’s win over Lander, the team wandered across the Jackson Hole High School campus to watch the Buffalo boys play. There they cheered as Sawyer Sweckard, the final triplet, scored the only goal of the match to advance the Bison boys into the semifinals. The sister duo also took time to reminisce on growing up with soccer, considering they made-up two-thirds of triplets all in the state semifinals.
They both started playing in the yard against each other, which developed into passing back-and-forth. Then they started playing in co-ed leagues, where they started growing into their own.
“We played with the boys a lot,” Teaghen said. “Even in the fall season we played with the boys.”
Added Addy: “So, yeah, we’re kind of used to that.”
Once the two started juggling between each other there was no looking back. Together they became standouts in a senior class that also includes four-time all-state selection Eli Olsen. They were always a formidable opponent that battled into the state tournament, typically into the semifinals before an overtime upset by Lander last season. That put the onus on this season — a final opportunity for this senior class.
Then came the gauntlet of obstacles, culminating with Addy’s injury. Having come so far, the Bison kept pushing forward.
“Addy is a coach on the bench now. She’s teaching the younger girls what it’s like to be at this tournament,” Buffalo head coach Mike Sauers said. “Eli and Teaghen just come in with a presence in the midfield and out on the field so it’s great. They’re solid players and all the girls around them are just trying to emulate what they’re doing.”
A proto-coaching role came natural for Addy, who is typically vocal on the field. Teaghen explained that while Addy will yell at the other girls on the pitch, she’ll resort to a different tactic when it comes to her own sister.
“I let her take her anger out on me,” Addy reiterated. “I’m the outlet for her.”
The two were obviously disappointed with losing in the championship match. Perhaps if they were at full-strength, the Buffalo crowd wondered, things would have been different.
But last weekend wasn’t the final chapter for the pair. They both have signed letters of intent to play soccer at Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington, in the fall.
“We’ll be together again,” Addy said. “It’s no surprise there.”
Teaghen’s still not sure if they were meant to fall in love with soccer. But after all the years together, and with more on the horizon, they’ve managed to share their love for the game with each other.