The West Valley Preps' 2019-20 girls soccer preview

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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:

CACTUS COBRAS

4A West Valley Region
2018-19 Record: 6-7, 2-2 region
Coach: Brittany Elliott (first year as Cactus coach)

How long have you coached soccer? I have coached for the past three years at the high school level and community college level.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? My teams best attribute would be their ability to adapt to situations and work ethic. They have had to learn a new system this year and they’ve done well.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? The main thing they have to improve on is growth and developing a culture of soccer. Meaning understanding why they are doing the things through out a game and how to better their decision making.

Who are your team leaders? Grace Dewyer

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? The main player that’s a freshman is our goalie Peyton Greener. She comes from club and has a great attitude and work ethic.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? This year all the games, but for me it’s the Thunderbird game. The girls fought last year and fell short, so hopefully they come out on top this year.

CENTENNIAL COYOTES

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 3-10-1, 1-4 region
Coach: Marc Shrake (second year as Centennial coach)
Top returnees: Lorraine Pedroza -Montoya, Sr., MF (10 goals, 5 assists) ; Alexis Williams, Jr. F (1 goals, 2 assists)

How long have you coached soccer? This is my second year as head coach at Centennial High.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Focus.  We were fortunate to return seven starters from last years squad.  Their dedication to remaining focused on building where we left off from last year.  This has helped us absorb the new players into vacated rotation spots.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Build team chemistry as we added eight freshman to the varsity roster.  As we grow together the consistency in our level of play has improved.
Who are your team leaders? Our leaders are our returning starters.  Specifically Seniors Julia Igneri, Lorraine Pedroza, Isabel Ortiz and Junior Lexxi Williams to name a few.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? We haveeight freshman this year that all have the ability to contribute.  Several of them have stepped into starting roles, Jamie Brandon, Maegen Hill, Brianna Lizarraga and Rylee Hartley.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? We are extremely excited about this years region games.  We are looking to be competitive this year and having some friendly rematches from last year.

ESTRELLA FOOTHILLS WOLVES

4A Southwest Region
2018-19 Record: 13-4 overall, 5-0 region (first round of 4A playoffs)
Coach: Rosiemarie Gee (Sixth year as head coach)
Top returning player: Gabbie Hayes, Sr., F, (10 goals)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? The best attribute the team has is, we look at each other as a family, not as just a team we have mandatory bondings, “ family talks,” we support each other through each situation.

Who are your team leaders? I say the whole team are leaders, each player has a special role to play for our team, and I would never take that away from them. 

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? All the new freshman and newcomers are great, they’ve performed and competed during our training I’m excited to have them apart of our program and to see what they will bring to our team.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Every game will be a challenge but our most anticipated games will be Flagstaff , Prescott and Gila Ridge

IRONWOOD EAGLES

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 4-11-1, 1-3-1 region
Coach: Alexa Huerta (first year as Ironwood coach)

How many years have you coached soccer? 8 years coaching at the JV level. This year is my first year as head of varsity.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our best attribute, my be our biggest struggle, but I would say it is the fact that we are a really young team. The girls are very eager and positive and ready to get out there and work hard.

 What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to, as any team that is new to each other, learn to work with each other and all the different personalities and skills.

Who are your team leaders? My upperclassman are stepping up as team leaders. We have a really young team this year, so the upperclassman are really working to show the younger girls the way.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? We are holding six freshman on our varsity roster this season. One of our freshman Haylee Rickard, stepped up into the Goalie position because we didn’t have one. I think with lots of hard work and encouragement from her teammates, Haylee is going to be an amazing goal keeper in the future.  

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? The girls always look forward to playing Kellis and Centennial. I think we are all similar teams and they are fun games to watch because it’s always competitive and close.

LIBERTY LIONS

6A Desert Valley Region
2018-19 Record: 11-7-2, 2-3 region (Reached 6A first round)
Coach: Kyle Pooler (third year as Liberty girls coach)
Top returnees: Grace Bland, Sr. F (7 goals, 5 assists); Cassidy Hardracker, Jr. G (8 goals, 3 assists in 10 games)

How long have you coached soccer?  I have coached soccer for 18 years. This is my third year as the Liberty girls coach.. Also a former Centennial boys soccer coach.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We return a lot of defenders and two goal keepers, so we feel that we are going to be pretty good on the defensive side of the ball.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We are going to have a lot of youth all around the field and we will need to figure out what we do best and be able to come together as a team.

Who are your team leaders? I believe we are going to have a lot of leaders this year, I have a lot of great girls that are solid not only on the field but off the field.  Seniors Mikala Prasse, Ariana Dillon, Rhyan Hintz are all three year letterman. Sophomore Kiley Connery stepped up big last year and we are expecting good things from her. We have a list of other sophomores that we feel are going to play a significant role this year.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Sophomores Justice Newson, Sophia Wheeler, Riley Weichbrodt, Skylar Skelton, Kaitlin Ketelhut and Madisyn Haderlie all played very well last year on the JV along with getting a lot of time up on varsity due to the injury bug we had last year.  Freshmen Dylan Ramirez and Kennedy Porterfield have really impressed us so far.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? We start the week off next week with three of the four games being against teams that made the state tourney last year, so it is going to tell us really early where we are and what we need to work on.  After break we have Sunrise Mountain, which is always a fun game for not only the girls but the community.  Then we have Shadow Ridge is has become a good rivalry over the past two years. Then we get into our region which all the teams from our region last year made the state tourney so it is going to be a grind again this year.

MILLENNIUM TIGERS

5A Desert West Region
2018-19 Record: 21-2-1 overall, 5-0 region (5A state runner up)
Coach: David Cameron (Fifth year as head coach)

How long have you coached soccer? I have coached 17 years in college and four years at Millennium, plus four years at Agua Fria and two years at Shadow Mountain High.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our best attribute entering this season will be our senior class which we have 13 returning for this season. We would like to improve on our relationship building for this season to be successful.

Who are your team leaders? Our leaders are senior captain Karis Stull, Maren Rice & Kenzie McGeorge

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Not sure on the newcomers yet. With many as 13 returning this season from last years team it will be very hard for incoming freshman to make an impact.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Anticipated games are Willow Canyon Feb. 7 (Sellout Game 2020) and Jan. 17 vs Desert Mountain at Millennium.

MOUNTAIN RIDGE MOUNTAIN LIONS

6A Desert Valley Region
2018-19 Record: 8-9 overall, 0-5 region (6A play-in)
Coach: Peter Evans (third year at Mountain Ridge)

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have a good combination of youth and experience. We have eight seniors on the team and some really talented sophomores and juniors.

Who are your team leaders? Ellie Chorpenning, Chiara Fusciello, Autem Johnston, Kelsey Biernot, Mackenzie Bondo and Mia Bondo

Who are newcomers to the varsity squad who could make an impact? Izzy Hunter is a senior player that moved here from Michigan.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We need to win the tough games at the end of the season.  We had some trouble at the end of last season against our region.

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Liberty and O’Connor

NORTHWEST CHRISTIAN CRUSADERS

3A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 14-4, 4-1 region (3A state champions)
Coach: Jeff Penzone (sixth year at Northwest Christian girls coach)

How many years have you coached soccer? 23 years / 16 at Northwest Christian

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Almost everyone returns from 3A Championship team from last year - players connect and support one another extremely well in our training and games

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Blending in new team members and playing at a high level each game - being team focused

Who are your team leaders? Senior defense Belle Ress, senior forward Hannah Lewis,  junior defender/midfield Whitney Wilson,  junior midfield Rachel Cooning, sophomore midfield Belle Floyd, sophomore midfield Beasley Floyd, junior forward Ella Kamp, sophomore forward Makenzi Wisely, junior defender Carly Garberding.

Who are newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Whitney Wilson, a junior defender, also will be counted on heavily for leadership. Also Natalie Oosterhouse, a junior defender, and Tatum Berkwitt, a freshman frward 

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? - Yuma Catholic - Win (1-0), Fountain Hills - Win (2-0), Paradise Honors

PARADISE HONORS PANTHERS

3A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 4-9, 2-3 region
Coach: Scott Bergeron (first year at Paradise Honors)
Top returnees: Sydney Rolfe, Jr. MF (11 goals, 3 assists), Sierra Sweeney, Sr. (10 goals, 3 assists).

How many years have you coached soccer? 20 years

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? I have a great group of girls who just want to go out and play soccer. They are willing to do whatever needs to be done for the team and play wherever they need to play.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Playing two-touch soccer and making our passes count. Creating opportunity and making the right runs at the right time. .

Who are your team leaders? We have so many team leaders this year, but here are a few of them this year: Sydney Rolf, Sierra Sweeney, Khaya Sims, Trudy Hoyler , Helen Grimaldo and Hannah Redwood.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Hailey Kelly, Kloe Davis, Kylee Pulkrabek  and Hannah Redwood

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule?  I am most excited about playing Yuma Catholic. They seem to be the team who is the most dominant in our division. I have heard some great things about their program.

SHADOW RIDGE STALLIONS

6A Southwest Region
2018-19 Record: 18-4, 5-0 region (First round of 6A playoffs)
Coach: John Gray (11th year)
Top returnees: Bayley Forbis, Jr. F (13 goals, 4 assists); Cassie Sherrin, Sr., MF (4 goals, 3 assists)

How many years have you coached soccer? I’ve been the head girls soccer coach at Shadow Ridge since it opened in 2009-10. Prior to that I was the JV boys coach at Willow Canyon for two years. I also coached JV boys soccer at RL Turner HS in Carrollton, Texas for two years in 1993-95.

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We have team speed and experience. Nine starters from last year are returning with four seniors having varsity experience since their freshman year.

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success?  We continually strive to improve our team chemistry through team building. These things will improve not only our chemistry but our mental toughness.

Who are your team leaders? Team leaders are: seniors, Gretchen Kuffel, Piper Stone, Cassie Sheerin, and Sydney McDowell, juniors, Morgan Sweeney, Bayley Forbis, and Kaleigh McDowell, and sophomores, Sophie Konieczny, Abby O’Connor, and Logan White.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact?  Newcomers this year are sophomores, Abby Fogelson and Stephanie Doty, and freshman, Kayleen Laramee, Sophia Bohon, Ava Hunsaker, and Katie Sweeney

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Our big games this year will be Queen Creek (12/13), Boulder Creek (12/1), Liberty (1/14), and Cibola (1/17). Boulder Creek and Westwood (1/10) were our two hiccups last year- both 1-0 losses.

SUNRISE MOUNTAIN MUSTANGS

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 10-8, 3-1 region (Reached 4A play-in round)
Coach: Erik Anderson (fourth year)
Top returnees: Anna Ramirez, Sr. F; Sierra Colby, Sr., GK; Brooke McCarthy, Sr., ST.

How long have you coached soccer? Fourth year at Sunrise Mountain. Also a former Centennial girls soccer coach

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our unity and relationships

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

Who are your team leaders? Anna Ramirez, Brooke McCarthy, Jenna Sanders, Lauren Hill and Sierra Colby — all seniors.

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Freshman Keali Foster will be a game changer

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? We look forward to competing for our region championship again, we have won our region the last three years.

Media: gallery

WILLOW CANYON WILDCATS

5A Northwest Region
2018-19 Record: 9-10-1, 2-2-1 region (Reached first round of 5A playoffs)
Coach: Kendra Melbye (14th year)
Top returnees: Paige Garcia, Soph., MF (21 goals, 9 assists); Madison Garcia, Sr., F (11 goals, 3 assists)

How many years have you coached soccer? 13

What is your team’s best attribute entering this season?  Depth

What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Speed and gelling as a team

Who are your team leaders? Mj Garcia, Haley Sherwood, Megan Tracey and Paige Garcia

Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Katelyn Nylen, Grace Brown and Riley Madrid

What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Millennium, Verrado, Cactus Shadow and Casteel.

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