West Valley Preps’ 2017-18 Girls Soccer Preview

Willow Canyon sophomore Allison Veloz (#1) dribbles up the field against Centennial Feb. 1, 2017 during a 5A first round playoff game at Willow Canyon High School in Surprise. Velour is back for her junior season. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

Compiled by Richard Smith
West Valley Preps

The girls soccer season is under way for Northwest Valley high schools. Here are previews, with coaches’ comments, for teams that responded to our questions:

CENTENNIAL COYOTES

5A Northwest Region

2016-17 Record: 12-6-1, 3-1 region (lost to Willow Canyon in 5A first round)

Coach: Steve Ybarra (3rd year as Centennial coach)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? I like the experience we bring in several areas of the field. We have quality experience on the defense, the midfield and up front.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Our inexperienced players or newcomers are going to have to learn to play like veterans and learn to play that way quickly.  There will need to be improvement in speed of play and decision making in order for us to be as successful as we want to be.

Who are your team leaders? So many, all seniors — Oliva Landis, Jayden Anderson, Brenna Seddens, Melany Gonzalez.  All four of them have started since their freshman or sophomore year.  It really is a group that I count on for feedback and to set the tone for our team.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? We have a couple who have a chance to make an immediate impact. Freshman  Ally Counts and Lexi Williams.  Their impact will be determined by how quickly the adjust to the speed of the game.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Well, the games against the schools are always fun for our girls and I. This year, for me, I look forward to the game vs Liberty.  It’s not because of a rivalry or anything, but mostly because I will be coaching against Pooler. We coached together here for so many years, I coached his daughter her freshman year. We played one year at Cactus HS together under the legend Jack Altersitz.  That year we also won our Cactus’s first state soccer title together. So lots of history there and it will be fun to coach against him.

DYSART DEMONS

4A Black Canyon Region

2016-17 Record: 6-5-1, 3-1-1 region

Coach: Ashley Becko (Third year as Dysart coach)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We are returning 8 of 11 starters including our top four scorers from last season. We have a good core foundation.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We have to play together and understand our roles. Even though we have a good number of starters back, the team needs to move on accept new roles.

Who are your team leaders? Ana Arellano (senior), Gaby Contreras (senior), Stephanie Gutierrez (senior).

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? We have a few new comers that we brought up this year. Given more games and practices they are getting better every time.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Each girl on the team has their own team they are excited to play again. I am looking forward to all of our region games but I do have a few games I am excited about as well.

IRONWOOD EAGLES

5A Metro Region

2016-17 Record: 6-10, 2-3 region

Coach: Michele Carter (21st year as Ironwood coach)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Willingness to learn and grow as a team.  The chemistry seems to be strong this year.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Finishing our chances and tightening our defense.

Who are your team leaders? Indira Ardon, Lizbeth Dorantes, Britney Keck

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? We have many players that are new that can make an impact however, the growth and improvement from returning players is really going to be the biggest impact.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? It is always fun the play our rivals Centennial.  It has proven to always be an entertaining game.

LIBERTY LIONS

5A Northwest Region

2016-17 Record: 13-6-1, 2-1-1 region (Lost to Arcadia in 5A second round)

Coach: Kyle Pooler (first year as Liberty girls coach)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Returners from last year. We did graduate a lot of girls, but we had a lot of young girls that got a lot of experience.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We must come together as team and care for one another.We have to understand what our role is for this year, and embrace that role. If the girls can do that we will be very successful. If we do not, it could be a long year.

Who are your team leaders? This is a very interesting group. I feel that we have many leaders that lead in very different ways. We have some that lead by example and just work hard to get the job done and some that a vocal with their leadership. Younger girls to older girls we have a lot of good leaders.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Very encouraged about the sophomore and freshmen classes. I feel that we have a lot good young talent to go along with are very large junior class.  Also, with the senior leadership I am really looking forward to see how we come together.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Kellis is always good year in and year out and we have them right off the bat. Back to back games against Ironwood and Chaparral right before the break will be tough. After break we have North Canyon and Centennial right away

Then Region Champs Willow Caynon.

MOUNTAIN RIDGE MOUNTAIN LIONS

6A Desert Valley Region

2016-17 Record: 5-11-2, 0-4-2 region

Coach: Doug Evans (second year)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have a very young team with only two seniors returning. Hoping defensively we can hold  our own with 3 sophomores and a senior and a sophomore goalie.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We will have to work very well as a team and not make mistakes on the field.

Who are your team leaders? Hannah Williams, 12, Kaylin Williams, 12, Lauren Denning, 11 and  Ashley Armenta, 11.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? I think Mia Bondo, 10, will play a big part on our defense.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? In addition to an already tough region, Horizon, Pinnacle, Desert Mountain, OC, BC, our non-conference schedule is really difficult as well. Perry and Chandler will be very tough games as well.

PARADISE HONORS PANTHERS

3A Region 4

2016-17 Record: 5-7, 4-2 region

Coach: Stephanie Heron (second year at Paradise Honors)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? The collaboration and comradery among the girls is inspiring. The older players have taken our new girls under their wing to show them our traditions and expectations.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We have a very young team this year, and will really need to focus on our speed of play both on and off the ball.

Who are your team leaders? The Panthers have strong leadership within the Junior class. With only one senior this year (Anna Jensen), the other girls have really stepped up to lead the team.

Captains this year are Jessica Kottmann and Maria (Frankee) Darza, both of whom are in the Junior class. Anna Jensen, Hannah Smith, and Lexi Livingston are also strong leaders in their effort and dedication to the team, on and off the field.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Natalie Grimaldo and Sydney Rolfe are both freshman players who come with experience playing in competitive leagues.

While Natalie can play timid at times, she takes direction well and gives her best effort when on the forward line.

Sydney comes to us with experience playing in the midfield, however we have her on our defensive line. She is an aggressive player and willing to step into challenges.

Anahy Zazueta does not have a lot of experience. However our team started the season without a goalie, and Ahahy has a natural aggression that has showed her success in the net.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule?

We are looking forward to playing Scottsdale Christian again this year. They beat us last year, but it was one of our better games.

With most of the team returning to play this year, it will be another good match. The girls are also excited to be participating in the Chandler Prep Girls’ Soccer Invite.

Last year we were unable to participate in a tournament.

SHADOW RIDGE STALLIONS

5ANorthwest Region

2016-17 Record: 11-6, 1-3 region

Coach: John Gray (eighth year)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team’s biggest attribute is team cohesiveness. The girls work well together and like spending time together off the field. They are selfless and don’t care who gets credit for great things happening. We also have a great deal of experience, depth, and speed.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to get early leads in big games and finish the season strong.

We ran into a gauntlet of good teams in our last 5 games last season. We were competitive in all of them, losing only one game by more than a goal, but we would like to finish the season strong against those teams this year.

Who are your team leaders? Jordan Lafferty, senior: 4-year letterman, center midfield, 1st team all state last year, 1st team all section. Mari Labansat, senior: 3 year letterman, forward, leading scorer in program history with 43 goals while missing her junior year with a knee injury.

Lisa Hall, senior: 4-year letterman, forward/midfield. Alyssa Francia, junior: 3-year letterman, midfield, top 4 scorer in program history.

Hailey Myers, junior: 3-year letterman, defense, 2nd team all setion. Breanna Gonzalez: sophomore, 2-year letterman, defense.

Gretchen Kuffel: sophomore, 2-year letterman, midfield. Sydney McDowell: sophomore, 2-year letterman, forward.

Cassie Sheerin: sophomore, 2-year letterman, forward/midfield. Piper Stone: sophomore, 2-year letterman,  defense, 2nd team all-section

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Sarah Bayoneta, freshman, defense. Bayley Forbiis, freshman, forward. Morgan Sweeney, freshman, midfield

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Our first big challenge will be playing Arcadia who beat us 5-3 last year and lost in the state final.

That game will tell us allot about how our season will shape up.

After that we have the same gauntlet to finish the season: Liberty, Queen Creek, Centennial, and Willow Canyon. All of four of them were playoff teams last year, and we anticipate them being tough games again this year.

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN MUSTANGS

4A West Valley Region

2016-17 Record: 13-4-2, 5-0 region (Lost to Prescott in 4A second round)

Coach: Erik Andersen (second year as Sunrise Mountain girls coach)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We are going to score a lot of goals.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Consistency.

Who are your team leaders? Victoria Clark, Laila Hammad, and Sydney Tidd all seniors.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Justyne Underwood will score and Sierra Colby will be solid in goal.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? We look forward to Estrella Foothills and Prescott, our two loses last year.

WILLOW CANYON WILDCATS

5A Northwest Region

2016-17 Record: 12-5-3, 3-0-1 region (Lost to Notre Dame Prep in second round of 5A playoffs)

Coach: Kendra Melbye (12th year)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Speed up top.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success?

Defensive marking and consistency in the middle of the field. (Senior Danielle Egharevba and sophomore MJ Garcia are concentrating on club soccer this year)

Who are your team leaders? Akela Patterson, Allison Veloz, and Josephine Eke.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Alyssa Reyes and Briauna Nowlin.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Liberty and Centennial.

 



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