The Lady Bowmen are looking for more success while moving to Class 5A
SHERWOOD - A new league.
But the Sherwood High School girls soccer team has the same lofty expectations.
The Lady Bowmen, moving up to the Class 5A level as member of the Northwest Oregon Conference, are taking some high hopes into the 2006 season.
'I fully expect that we'll be in the state playoffs,' Sherwood coach Bill Brown said during a Lady Bowmen practice earlier this week. 'I expect Sherwood soccer to be just as good as we've been in the past. We'll be fine.'
Sherwood, this year, boasts a strong contingent of returning players from last year's team that went 12-3-1 on the season in addition to adding a strong group of newcomers, including some talented freshmen.
'We're young, but it will be fun,' Brown said.
Among the key returnees for Sherwood is junior midfielder Amanda Dutra, who, last year, was named the District 2 Player of the Year in addition to earning first-team Class 3A/2A/1A all-state honors.
'She's even better this year,' Brown said. 'She's a phenomenal player and she'll anchor the middle for us.'
Joining Dutra in the midfield is another returning starter in sophomore Michelle Hlasnik, who was a second-team all-league pick last year.
'We know we'll be real strong from the middle on up,' Brown said.
The Lady Bowmen have two more returning starters up front in junior Courtney Smurdon and senior Emily Schulte.
At the wings, Sherwood has returnee Erica Chamberlain, a junior, and freshmen Lindsey Anderson and Kelly Pratt. Senior Ashley Govig, up from the junior varsity, gives the Lady Bowmen even more depth at the wing positions.
'We'll be able to interchange our wings and forwards,' Brown said. 'I'm expecting good things from them.'
Senior Renee Hlasnik, an honorable mention all-league selection last year, is a key returnee for Sherwood on defense. Sophomore Kristin Oenning is another returning starter on defense.
Another returnee, sophomore Kosha Adamson, will miss the first month of the season due to injury. Sophomores Michaela Loewer and Amy Vandenburg, both up from the JV team, and freshmen Stephanie Smith, who may play at sweeper, and Julianne Wood will all see action on defense. Juniors Melanie Boulton and Kristine Hogan give the Lady Bowmen depth both in the midfield and in the back.
Junior goalkeeper Kacie Parris, an honorable mention all-league pick last year, will miss the first three or four matches of the season due to medical problems.
'We also have some good new goalies coming up with a lot of potential,' Brown said.
The Sherwood players, like their coach, are looking for success in the team's first season at the Class 5A level.
'I think we'll dominate,' Parris said.
'I think we'll come out strong,' Schulte said.
The Bowmen say they should be especially potent when it comes to putting goals on the scoreboard.
'We'll be strong on offense,' Dutra said.
'And we'll be strong in the midfield,' Schulte added.
'We're looking forward to the season,' Renee Hlasnik said.
As for the inaugural season in the Northwest Oregon Conference, Brown sees Hillsboro, which made the Class 4A state playoffs last year out of the Metro League, and the Lady Bowmen's former District 2 foe Wilsonville as the favorites.
'We'll be able to compete with everyone in the new league,' Brown said. 'We know how to play, and to play well. The good thing for us is that we have so much competition right here. That will make everyone better.'
Sherwood opens its season Tuesday when it hosts Madras in a non-league match starting at 4:30 p.m.