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Girls soccer expected to be tough at the top | Prep Sports
If the South Puget Sound League 4A girls soccer conference was competitive before, the new division formatting might bring a whole new element of difficulty.
“It’s going to be incredible,” said Kentwood head coach Aaron Radford. “Every match is going to have a dramatic impact on your standing. You can’t slip up on any opponent.”
The reformatted SPSL will cause a ripple throughout the summer sports, but soccer may be even more dramatic than most, with room at the top getting suffocatingly close. The addition of Decatur to the new Northwest division adds another group to the traditionally tough Federal Way School District teams — Federal Way, Thomas Jefferson and Todd Beamer.
“Federal Way, I don’t know how they do it, but every year they seem to have so much soccer talent,” said Tahoma head coach Jason Johnson.
Radford thinks the SPSL adds to the league’s strength.
“It’s going to be a battle all year long,” Radford said. “It’s a challenge for all of us to perform as coaches and as players.”
With multiple returning starters, Johnson thinks the Bears have enough talent and leadership to make a deep run.
“Last year we had girls in new positions and didn’t have a lot of experience,” Johnson said. “That one year is going to make a big difference for a lot of them.”
First Game: Graham Kapowsin, Sept. 6
2013 League Record: 9-3-4
How far advanced: Lost to Central Valley in the first round of the state tournament.
Returning Starters: Seven
Key graduate from 2013: Bailey Martoncik, who is now playing at Central Washington.
Goals: “To improve upon what we did last year,” Johnson said. “To get back to what we were doing — defending well and attacking well. Last year, we did one well and not the other.”
Biggest game on the schedule: “The SPSL is always just so tough, every single game have to be ready for it,” Johnson said. “We try to focus on the one in front of us.”
• Mia Corbin (Jr, Midfield) — “Even as good a softball player she is, I wonder if she is an even better soccer player,” Johnson said.
• Taylor Clairon (Sr, Midfield) — “If she can stay healthy she can be pretty good,” Johnson said.
• Rachel Duty (Sr, Forward) — “Ready to become a more predominant goal scorer,” Johnson said.
• Zoe Millburn (So, Forward) — Johnson described her as a good attacking player “with a knack for the goal.”
• Bri Aldridge (So, Goalie) — “Played a lot of substantial minutes last year and is ready to go,” Johnson said.
• Hadley Bezon (Jr., Goalie) — “She is really ready,” Johnson said. “She came in amazing shape; working really hard.”
Head coach Angy Mathena called 2013 “a major building year” for the Falcons. After losing only one graduating senior, the squad features 17 returning varsity players.
“Because we have 17 returning Varsity players, we will be watching JV players and look forward to bringing them up to play in a varsity game,” Mathena said.
First Game: Lindbergh, Sept. 6
2013 League Record: 3-12-1
Returning Starters: 10
Goals: Mathena said the Falcons want to be best in state in three categories: best dressed team, best sportsmanship and most fit team.
Biggest game on the schedule:“I would say it is a 3-way tie between Kentridge, Kentwood and Tahoma,” Mathena said.
• Sam Martin (Jr., Midfield) — All League honorable mention her sophomore and freshman years
• Timary Mathena (Sr., Forward) — All league 2nd team in 2013
• Jordan Engman (So., Forward and Midfielder)
• Chloe Hopps (Sr., Goalie)
• Amanda Price (Jr., Forward) — All League honorable mention in 2013; all league 2nd team her freshman year
• Indi Planesi (Jr., Defense and Midfield) — All League honorable mention in 2013.
Radford’s boy’s team advanced farther than even he expected during the winter, winning the SPSL North Conference and finishing fourth in state tournament. His expectations are similarly modest for the Conk’s girls squad, calling defending division champ Kentridge the division’s team to beat, with Tahoma not far behind.
“I don’t think we are in that position (team to beat),” Radford said. “I think we are a strong team.”
First Game: Union, Sept. 6
2013 League Record: 9-3-4
How far advanced: Lost in second game of district playoffs.
Returning Starters: Six
Key graduates from 2013: Megan Charlton, three-year starter, twice named all-state goalie. Shannon Parmley, leading scorer for 2013 team with 12 goals.
Goals: “Play well in our newly aligned SPSL North and get Kentwood to the state tournament for the eighth time in last 10 years,” Radford said.
Biggest game on the schedule: “Our home and away games with Tahoma Sept. 11th and Oct. 16th,” Radford said.
• Jennifer Oak (Sr., Forward) — Four year varsity
• Bailey Griglio (Sr., Midfield) — Three year varsity
• Jessica Gibb (Sr. Defense) — Three year varsity
• Chelsea Hartnett (Sr. Midfield) — Three year varsity
• McKenna Strong (So.) — “Tall, aggressive forward that works incredibly hard,” Radford said.