A shorter, COVID-delayed season is under way for Northwest Valley high schools. Here are previews, with coaches’ comments, for teams that responded to our questions:
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? To find success this season, we will need continue growing in our communication and chemistry--this is true of any team in arguably any sport. With so many starts and stops to the season, the team continues to work hard to understand each other's style on the field.
4A Southwest Region
2019-20 Record: 11-4 5-1 region (3A first round)
Coach: Scott Bergeron (second year at Paradise Honors)
Top returnees: Sydney Rolfe, Sr. MF (27 goals, 10 assists), Hailey Kelly, Soph., MF (5 goals, 8 assists).
How many years have you coached soccer? I have been coaching for 15 years. This will be my second year coaching at Paradise Honors High School.
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? We will need to improve on playing small ball and 1-2 touch soccer this season.
Who are your team leaders? Our team leaders are the three senior captains (Natalie Grimaldo , Hannah Redwood, and Sydney Rolf).
Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? We have three new freshman that are very eager to play and make a positive difference this year (Madyson Bell, Jade Morris, and Lillian Jeffers).
What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule Our biggest games this season will be Notre Dame Prep, ALA Queen Creek and Estrella Foothills.
Junior midfielder Morgan Sweeney prepares to drive the ball deep during the Stallions Feb. 7 win against Valley Vista. For the second straight year, Shadow Ridge reached the first round of the 6A playoffs. [Courtesy Dysart Unified School District]
6A Southwest Region
2019-20 Record: 13-4-1, 4-0-1 region (First round of 6A playoffs)
Coach: John Gray (12th year)
Top returnees: Bayley Forbis, Sr. F (13 goals, 8 assists); Kayleen Laramee, Soph., MF (10 goals, 8 assists)
How many years have you coached soccer? I have been coaching soccer for 16 years, 12 at Shadow Ridge since we opened in 2009.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? Our team has depth and speed this year.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? We have to work on possessing the soccer ball through good passing.
Who are your team leaders? Team leaders are: Seniors Bayley Forbis, Morgan Sweeney, and Abby Theis; Juniors Sophie Konieczny, Abby O'Connor, Cara Braswell, Abby Fogelson, and Logan White; Sophomores Kayleen Laramee, Sophia Bohon, Katie Sweeney, Mikayla James, and Ava Hunsaker.
Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Newcomers to the varsity are Junior Izzy Blanco; Sophomores Olivia Arratia-Rivera, Rylee Kunker, Rachel Theis, Ashley Waples, and Hillary Weber; and Freshman Jillian Young.
What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule We start our season at home with Desert Ridge. We also have O'Connor, Boulder Creek, Mountain Ridge, and Cibola. It looks like the Tolleson and Phoenix Union schools may opt out of the season, so we are looking to add a few games. We may end up with some other big names, but we aren't really sure yet.
5A Central Region
2019-20 Record: 8-10-1, 2-2-1 region (reached 5A play-in)
Coach: Kendra Melbye (15th year)
Top returnees: MF Paige Garcia, Jr. (16 goals, 11 assists), F Amber Krey, Sr. (13 goals, 3 assists)
How many years have you coached soccer? 17 years coaching.
What is your team’s best attribute entering this season? We are a young team with great determination.
What will your team need to improve for the season to be a success? Needs to improve on patience and field vision.
Who are your team leaders? Senior Melany Alanis, junior Paige Garcia and senior Amber Krey.
Who are the newcomers to varsity that can make the biggest impact? Sophomore Emma Schmidt, junior Sophia Turner and junior Holly Palomo.
What are some of the more anticipated games on your schedule? Millennium, Verrado and Casteel.