Overlake’s captains, from left to right, Faith Kipnis, Kayla Ngai and Kate McConnell. Andy Nystrom, Redmond Reporter

Defending state champion Overlake possesses talent and a positive attitude

Defending 1A girls soccer state champion Overlake is off to a hot start and the squad is looking forward to seeing how things go the rest of the way.

The Owls were 2-0 in Emerald City League play and 4-0 at press time, and coach Sally Goodspeed said it’s nice to see the girls displaying a positive attitude, playing hard and carrying on the school’s winning tradition.

“I think what that state championship game did for us was just solidify our program as a program that you don’t necessarily want to play, in the sense that we’re gonna come out and bring our best game at every single point,” said senior defender Kate McConnell.

Added junior defender Kayla Ngai, who earned a sportsmanship medal during the state title game: “I think our team dynamic, we’re starting to finally click, it’s all coming together.”

Ngai noted that the veterans and younger players are bonding, they’re taking things one game at a time and are shooting to make it back to state in November. Last year’s state title was the first for the girls soccer program in school history. The girls finished 19-1 overall and atop the league standings with an 11-0 record. The Owls capped off the season with a 3-0 victory over La Salle to notch the state crown.

Goodspeed — last year’s 1A coach of the year — said Overlake possesses a wealth of talented players and has the tools to make this a special season.

“I always treat every season independently. There’s stuff you’ve learned and you’ve gained, but each season’s a new opportunity. It’s a new team, new girls, new dynamic,” the coach said, adding that she’ll help the girls along the way and not put any pressure on them.

Key players for Overlake are defenders McConnell, Ngai and senior Faith Kipnis; freshman goalkeeper Jamison Foster, who has made some timely plays; juniors Grace Fujinaga, Keely Likosky and Sofia Beachman, who have scored some goals from their midfield/forward positions; and sophomore midfielder Anne Parsons Proctor, who covers a lot of ground and scored a goal.

Kipnis, who is in her fourth year on Overlake’s varsity squad, said the Owls’ strong defense is good at gaining possession of the ball and moving it up field.

Playing tough in the back is not the only vital part of her game.

“I’ve been working on being a leader this year as a captain and trying to encourage the younger players, since half of our team is underclassmen this year,” Kipnis said. “Playing for your high school is probably one of the funnest things you can do throughout high school. It’s really fun to go and represent your school and meet people from other schools.”

McConnell said that when the ball is kicked into play, the Owls are working for each other to reap success.

“I think that all of us really want to play our best game. So that means that we not only have to have the fitness to back it up, but we also have to be there for our teammates when they make a mistake,” she said.

She added that if the ball possession, talent and hard work are present, that can translate into winning games.

• Overlake is playing without major players from last year Jaquelin Nordhoff (league most valuable player, 1A state player of the year), Alex Hobbs (14 goals) and Smith Hunter (league rookie of the year with 18 goals), who are now part of the new U.S. Girls Development Academy program. Academy participants can’t play high school ball and many prep teams have been affected by the formation of the program.

2017 Prep Girls Soccer Capsules

Redmond

With a 3-1 win over previously undefeated and unscored upon Lake Washington on Tuesday, Redmond was 2-1-0 in 3A KingCo and 2-1-1 overall at press time. Redmond goals came at the feet of junior defender Valerie Chung, sophomore midfielder Reece Wharton and senior midfielder Erin Crosier.

Redmond sports seven returners from last year: Mackenzie Ault (senior goalkeeper and KingCo second-teamer last year), Andrea Dang (senior midfielder), Emma Raffman (senior forward), Nicki Chan (senior midfielder/forward and KingCo second-teamer in 2016), Allison Nakamura (junior midfielder), Taylor Pisan (junior defender) and Crosier. Captains are Ault, Chan and Dang.

Other standouts are sophomore defenders Izzy Bach-Lefler and Grace Phelps.

Crosier, Raffman and Bach-Lefler have notched goals and assists this season.

“Our mantra this year is ROCK SOLID. We work hard at every practice and every game to be mentally, physically and emotionally solid,” said coach Stacy Masters. “They are very selfless and have a ‘team-first’ mentality. They also know how to have a good time, so I love the balance. Because of all of this, we are very optimistic about our season.”

The Bear Creek School

Bear Creek was off to a 1A Emerald City League 2-1 start and 2-4 overall start at press time.

The Grizzlies’ top goal scorer from last year, senior forward Sophie Schroth, has returned and kicked the season off with six goals and one assist despite missing two games due to injury.

Bear Creek returns three starting senior defenders in Hallie Mott, Delaney Montgomery and Christie Gorzalski. The Grizzlies’ four senior captains are Michelle Gasiewicz, Schroth, Montgomery and Mott. There are also seven strong freshmen on tap, with five of them starting games. The youngsters are: Izzy Shorett, Kennedy Shorett, Maya Bennett, Ana Maria Gomez, Caroline Smith, Claire McArthur and Grace McBride.

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