Girls soccer teams eye league titles
September 15, 2009
By Bob Taylor
The Issaquah School District over the years has been known for fielding girls soccer powerhouse teams.
Certainly, that was the case last fall, when Skyline High School won the 4A state title and when Issaquah High School captured 3A state titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Liberty High School has also been a soccer power, winning 3A KingCo Conference titles in 2000 and 2001, plus finishing third at state three times.
The aspirations for these teams have not changed for the 2009 season. All three are expected to be among the top teams in their respective leagues.Spartans are reloading
The Skyline Spartans are coming off their most successful season in recent memory. Skyline won the 2008 state 4A championship last fall, beating Woodinville 2-0 and finishing the season with a 15-2-2 overall record.
However, the Spartans are reloading this year and gearing up to face a competitive 4A KingCo Conference.
Coach Don Braman has plenty of returning talent to work with in 2009. Only losing a few seniors from last year’s roster, Skyline brings back Emily Anderson, Shea O’Donnell, Coral Anderson, Michelle Bretl, Madi Barney, Anna Morgan, Alisha Connors, Maddie Christ, Brittanee Randle, goalie Jill Stika, Meighan Hawks, Kayle Shim and Tina Vargas.
Newcomers Nicole Candioglos, Jackie Wilson, Dominique Randle and Alexa Strom will work to make their mark on a team ranked No. 24 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Once again, the game to watch in 2009 will be when Skyline hosts Issaquah at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8. Another much anticipated game will be Eastlake at Skyline at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24.
Skyline travels to Oregon with Eastlake and Issaquah high schools Sept. 18-19 to play Westview and Lincoln high schools. Lincoln came out of the 2008 season ranked No. 3 nationally.
The Spartans began their season last week by winning three straight nonleague games.
Skyline opened its season Sept. 8 with a 4-1 victory at home against Mercer Island. Bretl had a goal and two assists to lead Skyline. Wilson also scored twice for Skyline.
The Spartans scored two early goals Sept. 10 and held on to defeat Bellevue 2-1. Morgan’s goal at 5:44 proved to be the winner. Anderson gave Skyline a 1-0 lead at 2:55.
Skyline concluded its week Sept. 12 with a 5-0 victory against Mount Si. Barney had two goals, Bretl had a goal and an assist. Goalkeepers Stika and Vargas shared the shutout.
Eagles hope to fly high again
Issaquah has high hopes for this season, which really isn’t a new goal for the Eagles. Under coach Tom Bunnell, Issaquah has won three 3A state titles.
The Eagles had hopes of winning a 4A championship last year, but got eliminated early in the state playoffs by Tahoma.
Nevertheless, the Eagles reached the state playoffs for a fifth straight year.
“I was seriously disappointed with the way our season ended last year,” Bunnell said. “I really thought we were one of the better teams in the state. It would have been nice to see what we could have done.”
But with several players returning this season, Bunnell is optimistic.
“I’m really excited about this team. We have a solid group. We have young, excited players mixing in with experienced players,” Bunnell said. “This team should be surprisingly good.”
The Eagles should be explosive up front with forwards Kristin Maris and Kaley Allison, and midfielders Lindsay Stoll, Dayna Talley, Morgan Gierke and Audrey Thomas.
Maris earned all-league first team honors last season.
“She is a crafty player. We expect her to be one of the top scorers in the league,” Bunnell said.
Talley and Stoll were second-team, all-league selections and Allison received honorable mention.
“Morgan and Dayna work really well together. They have played on the same club team for a long time,” Bunnell said. “Thomas is a freshman and will be a exciting player in the middle for us.”
Issaquah will have a new goalkeeper this year, because Nicole Eddings, a four-year starter, graduated. Brooke Miller, a backup last season, will start in goal.
The Eagles will also have a new group of defenders. Sara Brumley, a senior, is Issaquah’s most experienced defender.
“She will anchor the defense. She is one of those hard-working players who gets the job done,” Bunnell said.
Margaret Rauch had a goal and two assists Sept. 8 as she led the Issaquah High School girls soccer team to a 4-0 nonleague victory against the host Liberty Patriots. Stoll also scored twice for Issaquah.
Liberty soccer is back
Liberty, which once ruled KingCo, returned to its winning ways last year, compiling a 9-4-2 record. The Patriots made it to the first round of the league playoffs, but got knocked out.
Coach Darren Tremblay is optimistic about this fall’s team. He coached dynamic teams in 2000 and 2001, when Liberty placed third at state both times. Liberty also took third in 1998.
The Patriots will see the return of some talented players in sophomore forward Cassidy Nangle, who earned first-team honors last fall; sophomore midfielder Kimi Fry and junior midfielder Sara DuVall, who both earned second-team all-league honors; and sophomore midfielder Shannon Daly and senior defender Chelsea Noonan, who earned honorable mention.
Other key returning players include goalkeepers Jennifer Rucker and Macaire Ament, midfielder Shawna Lindberg, forward Kendall Downing and defender Baylee Cooke.
New players expected to contribute include forwards Kailiana Johnson and Treva LeRoy; defenders Holly Jones, Mollie Cooke and Denise Blohowiak; midfielder/forwards Whitney Cain and Alexis Court; midfielder Kiana Hafferty; and defender/midfielder Carly Mackinnon.