With matches beginning next week, local girls soccer teams are rounding up their training and starting to figure out who will be their key players. We take a look at a few of the Tacoma schools in this year’s preview.
The Lions have plenty of experience returning from last year’s squad, and will look to go further into the postseason after falling in the district playoffs last year.
“What I like about this year’s team is the girls are really united,” said head coach Joe Waters. “They all want to work hard. That’s really half the battle.”
Senior midfielder Hope Fleckner and junior midfielder Kaylee Kebba will be able to create chances for the Lions, and promising sophomore Alyssa McKiernan is a dangerous threat at forward.
The Lions will have to withstand the loss of senior defender Aly Hirz, dealing with a torn ACL, but seniors Abby Gallinatti and Chanelle Pederson should be solid in the back. Waters noted that junior Angel Kintz will be counted on to produce as well this year.
First-year head coach Jeremy Leffel inherits a relatively young group, but one that also features a good amount of experience.
“I love our youth and our speed,” Leffel said. “We only graduated a couple players and we only have a couple seniors. I’m excited to see what they can do.”
The Tigers should be solid in the midfield, with juniors Madison Putnam and Taylor Cecil and senior Alecia Williams leading the way. Junior forward Joyce Jensen provides a solid scoring presence up front, while sophomore Emma Lynch will lead the Tigers’ defense, but is a scoring threat as well. Senior all-league goalkeeper Jordan Sallee also returns and should solidify the defense and provide leadership in guiding the back line.
The Rams will have to replace Narrows 3A MVP forward Brittainy Canonica, but first-year head coach Cory Hoffman – who has been an assistant at Wilson for four years – thinks he has the senior leadership in place to have success early on.
“We’ve got a really good team, a real solid group of kids,” Hoffman said. “We’re going to rely on their experience.”
Junior forward Megan Chambers scored some big goals last year, and will be a major threat up front. Seniors Summer Henricksen and Perry Henricksen will solidify the midfield, while captain Sabrina Wilson leads an all-senior defense, which has Hoffman excited.
“Defensively we’re going to be better than we’ve ever been before,” he said.
The Rams will also have to replace all-league keeper Danielle Rhea, but senior Rebecca Simansky should step in nicely.
Coming off of their first ever playoff appearance, the Falcons will have to overcome some key losses due to graduation and injury in order to have a repeat performance.
“It’s going to be a work in progress,” said head coach Mark Kramer. “Hopefully the girls that are returning can step in and fill some of these holes that we have.”
Leading the way is senior all-league defender Tyfanni Chin, who not only is stout on the back line but can push up the field and score. But the Falcons will be without fellow all-league defender Jessica Orozco, who is injured, and will need to find a successor to all-league second-team goalkeeper Pow Onmun.
Junior Emma Rue-Johns and sophomore Tyra Goshay should be solid in the midfield, and senior Jennifer Dittell and sophomore Treaunna Madison will be counted on to help the attack at forward.
After the Abes struggled in her first season at the helm, head coach Emily Abbott noted that her players are more aggressive in practice so far, and she hopes will pay off during matches.
“We’re getting a lot more crosses off, and finishes,” Abbott said, adding that the players are gaining a greater understanding of the game. “They’re just starting to play really well together.”
Junior midfielder Joelle French should be very active in setting things up in the middle, and incoming freshman Naravie Phaisan is a promising midfielder as well. Senior Danely Caldeo and junior D.J. White will look to be the scoring threats at forward, and senior goalkeeper Heidi Leeper also returns to lead the defense.