Hopes are soaring for Redmond High’s girls soccer squad this season.
At the start of a training session under a bright yellow sun and blue sky on Aug. 28, seniors Taylor Pisan and Vanessa Almada discussed how the Mustangs have bonded in the offseason and are set to unleash their talent on the 4A KingCo Conference. The girls feel they’ve got a good shot to again kick into the postseason.
“I think there’s a lot of chemistry and I think that’s gonna serve us really well throughout the season,” said Almada as Pisan nodded her head in agreement. “I think if we just all play to our potential and play for each other and the way we’ve been training, we’ll be good.”
Added Pisan, one of many Mustangs who got young girls fired up about the sport at the Jr. Stangs Soccer Camp over the summer: “We’re trying to leave a legacy and we’re really uniting the program.”
Last year, the Mustangs tasted success with a 9-6-2 overall record and second-place finish in the 3A KingCo tournament. Redmond has returned to 4A after two years in 3A after the school appealed to do so, according to athletic director Dan Pudwill. Redmond switched to 3A because of enrollment figures and copious teams opting up to 4A; enrollment reclassification will again take place in 2020.
Fourth-year head coach Stacy Masters likes what she sees on the pitch, starting with her senior tri-captains Pisan, Allison Nakamura and Lily Chirichigno and rolling down her solid roster.
“The outlook is really optimistic. We have a good returning squad and then we added some younger players that I think are gonna give teams a different look,” said Masters, noting that having freshmen and sophomores on the squad adds excitement for now and bodes well for the future.
According to Masters, midfielder Chirichigno is a silky player with stellar ball control;
midfielder Nakamura, a fourth-year varsity player, has great field vision, releases nice passes and is hungry to score this year; and defender Pisan can create havoc by moving the ball well all over the field and letting loose great crosses and shots.
Other standouts are senior midfielders Almada and Lindsey Honhart, senior defenders Valerie Chung and Maya Fleming, senior forward Ella Polly and junior defender Izzy Bach-Lefler. On the goalkeeping front, there’s junior Aly Doar and sophomore Sarah Thomas, both of whom read the game well and are vocal leaders, Masters said.
Third-year varsity player Pisan is thrilled to step into a RHS captain’s role for the first time and be working alongside Nakamura and Chirichigno to lead the Mustangs.
“We’re all just challenging ourselves and trying to be the best teammate for each other that we can be and have a good season,” said Pisan, noting that all the players tightened their ties at a recent two-day retreat in Bellingham. “I think we’re really steps ahead of where we were last year coming into our first game. and to us that’s super exciting and hopeful.”
As for Almada, she feels the Mustang coaches have guided the players to excel on and off the soccer pitch.
Most important, she said, are the “friendships that I’ve made here, and it just has taught me how to be a good teammate, not even just here, but you take that into the real world to be a better classmate or friend.”