Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Leading the state again

Sunset and Jesuit expected to battle for Metro League supremacy in 2012


The Metro League may not have produced a state champion in 2011, but that was about the only shortcoming in another year of great girls soccer.

Sunset was the Class 6A state runner-up, Westview gave the league another state semifinalist, and Jesuit and Southridge both pushed as far as the 2011 quarterfinals.

The 2012 season promises to provide more of the same — great talent, fierce competition and quality from top to bottom.

That said, the league's six coaches predict that Jesuit and Sunset will once again battle for supremacy this season.

HIGH ABOVE - Sunset senior Lindsey Kroon and her Apollo teammates are hoping to create big memories in 2012 like they did in 2011 when the Apollos played their way into the state championship game for the first time since 1992.

“I expect the league to be very competitive as always, but Jesuit and Sunset should be a cut above,” said Southridge coach Jeff Lim. “Jesuit returns a lot of experienced players, and Sunset, with a trip to the finals, brings back one of the state's best goalkeepers.”

“Jesuit and Sunset should battle for first,” said Westview coach Chris Martin. “But after that, it could be wide open.”

Indeed. Southridge, Beaverton and Westview should all field strong teams, and Aloha will likely be improved too.

“It's going to be a battle like always,” said Beaverton coach Brittni Estep-Carmichael. “The talent is spread out so it will be interesting.”

“Westview always has a lot of good players available, and both Southridge and Beaverton both should be better than last year,” said Jesuit coach Steve Fennah.

Following are previews of the Metro League's six varsity girls soccer teams.

ALOHA

ALOHA — Trying to climb the ladder in the state's best girls soccer league is no easy task.

Aloha knows that as well as anyone.

But that's just what the Warriors are planning to do in 2012. Bolstered by talented newcomers, experienced returners, a transfer and another player back from injury, Aloha thinks it's ready.

“We are fortunate to have a good mixture of returning key varsity starters from last season and a great class of incoming talented players this year,” said Aloha coach Ron Overton. “We hope to continue our program's improvement and momentum from last year to become more competitive in the Metro League.”

This year's team will be led by senior midfielder and captain Katie Newton (a second-team all-leaguer last year), senior defender Betty Becerra (a four-year starter), senior forward Mary Pierce and junior defender Bree Chang. Senior goalie Taylor Vlahovich returns after missing 2011 with a knee injury, junior keeper Cheyanne Lambert transferred in from Illinois, while top freshmen are keeper Ali Graham, midfielders Alyssa Murphy and Kenni Khiev, and defender Emily Mata Diaz.

Becerra “provides leadership, stability and great decision making anchoring our defense,” Overton said, adding that Newton adds “the dangerous attack and energy to be successful.”

The rest of the lineup will be senior forward Haley Saugling, sophomore forward Jessenya Mil, sophomore midfielder Marissa Biddy, sophomore midfielder Monique Vega, junior defender Lindsey Fletcher, sophomore midfielder Hanna Lange, senior midfielder Mikayla Stackhouse, senior midfielder Lindsey Carr, and junior midfielder Sara Emerick.

“Our defense and midfield will be our strengths this season. We have quality players at all those positions this year,” Overton said. “Our goaltending should be improved and deeper this year with our three new keepers all vying for varsity playing time.”

BEAVERTON

BEAVERTON — Beaverton graduated a ton of talent from its 2011 team and doesn't have one returning all-leaguer on its roster, but just the same, the Beavers are feeling good about their chances.

Beaverton — which graduated 11 seniors from last year's team after going 2-6-2 in league, winning a Play-In game, then losing in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs — brings back a nice mix of experienced talent and newcomers, and so far, the chemistry has been very, very good.

“We lost a lot from last year, but they're stepping up,” said Beaverton coach Brittni Estep-Carmichael. “I didn't know how they'd respond this year, but I've been pleasantly surprised.”

This year's team will be led by senior defender Michelle Fahlbusch and junior defender/midfielder Robyn Schmutzer.

“They're confident girls but they lead by example,” Estep-Carmichael said. “This group is already responding to them.”

Other experienced returners are keepers Kylee Coon (a junior) and Brittney Paterson (a senior), junior defender Kelsey Priest, sophomore midfielders Allie Mueller and Cecelia Fondren, sophomore forward Inca Gunter, sophomore midfielder/forward Maddie Johnson, junior midfielder Anna Reutin, junior defender Carolyn Graeper and senior forward Kathleen Santos. Senior forward Kendall Zewald is also listed on the roster though injured.

“They're all talented athletes who are giving me 100 percent all of the time,” Estep-Carmichael said. “I know what a great group I have.”

This year's talented freshman class includes defenders Lora Frische, Maddie Hudspeth and McKee Rose, midfielder Sydney Boechler, and midfielder/forward Alyssa Christiansen.

“We know it's going to be a battle, and we have to stay healthy,” Estep-Carmichael said. “Sometimes the Metro battles hurt you physically going into the postseason.”

JESUIT

BEAVERTON — Jesuit coach Steve Fennah isn't quite ready to shout it from the mountain tops, but he's feeling pretty good about this year's Crusader soccer team.

Jesuit, which won the Metro League a year ago and advanced to the Class 6A state quarterfinals, brings back three all-leaguers, a ton of experience and the desire to get back on top.

“I think we've got a good team again,” Fennah said. “This is my third year back as coach and this is the strongest of the three. We're not as experienced yet, but I think we're stronger.”

Those all-leaguers are junior forward Dani Brown (a first-team all-leaguer in 2011), sophomore forward Madison Kincaid (a second-teamer) and senior goalkeeper Madi McNamara (another second-teamer), and they'll be counted on to provide leadership on and off the field.

“This is (McNamara's) year to lead the team as a senior,” Fennah said, adding that Brown, Kincaid and senior Lexi Krueger provide “three strong strikers.”

The rest of the Crusaders' regular rotation will include junior defender Lexie Frey, junior defender Jessica Bramlett, junior defender Ilyssa Holt, sophomore defender Mika Chesnutt, junior Arianna Hudson, senior midfielder Patricia Brashear, and junior midfielder Molly Petrusich. The team will also get a lift from senior midfielder Shanna Lechelt, senior forward Maddy Gram and sophomore midfielder Aliyah Chance when they return from injuries.

“We're getting good senior leadership from McNamara and Krueger” Fennah said, adding that Frey “may be as good as any player there is in Oregon.”

This year, the team will also look to freshman midfielder Michelle Escobar, sophomore defender Chelsea Day, sophomore midfielder Gavin Melisande, sophomore forward Simone Herzberg, and junior goalkeeper Francesca Orlando.

SOUTHRIDGE

BEAVERTON — Southridge was the epitome of Metro League girls soccer a year ago.

The Skyhawks went just 3-5-2 in league and placed fourth in the regular season, but tempered by the fire of Metro League play, stepped up to win three straight times in the postseason and earn a spot in the Class 6A state quarterfinals.

Now, they're hoping for more of the same.

“How we will fare in league will come down to how quickly we can come together as a team,” said Southridge coach Jeff Lim. But we're “returning just three starters from last year's team (so) there are players that will need to step up and take on new roles.”

Indeed they will, especially after the team graduated nine seniors from 2011, eight of them starters and five of them all-leaguers.

Still, there is talent back, led by senior midfielder and captain Sarah Werhane, senior defender and captain Hannah Rose, senior goalkeeper and captain Brenna Berry, and senior forward Tayler Clark.

That quartet “will carry much of the leadership role with ... Clark providing much-needed experience,” Lim said.

Also back with experience as starters are junior defender Maddie Misi, junior forward Dayna Carlson, and junior midfielder Hayley Debois, while key reserves returning from last year's squad are sophomore midfielder Makenna Bell, sophomore forward Andie Giles and junior defender Meridith Greer.

They'll all be “taking on much larger roles this year,” Lim said.

New to the roster this season will be junior forward Rachel Karembelas, junior midfielder Alexa Pittmon, junior defender Mackenzie Beber, junior defender Maddie O'Billovich, freshman midfielder Alysa Farhound, junior forward Kayla Coleman, sophomore forward Sydney Castillo, and freshman forward Kelsey Beber.

SUNSET

CEDAR MILL — The 2011 Sunset girls soccer team soared higher than any Apollo team in a generation.

The Apollos played to a runner-up finish in the Metro League, then really hit their stride in the postseason, battling al the way to the Class 6A state championship game for the first time since 1992.

Now the Apollos would like to do it all again.

We're “looking to get back into the playoffs and compete for the Metro League title,” said Sunset coach Ben Durano. “We look forward to the challenge.”

The Apollos look ready for that challenge, returning four all-leaguers led by junior defender Taylor Coon (first team), junior forward Elly Williamson (first team), senior defender and captain Mary Grace Roselli (second team) and junior goalkeeper Taylor Luty (second team).

Coon is “very fast, physical and organizes the defense. She's very difficult to contend with,” Durano said, adding that Williamson and Roselli “are lethal up front and should ... lead in scoring this year.”

There's more talent back too, including team captains Lindsey Kroon (a senior defender), Ellie O'Bosky (a senior defender) and Claire Smith (a senior defender), though the team must replace departed Metro Player of the Year Alicia Alarcon. Also back are junior forward Grace Mettler, junior defender Payten Sonnen, junior forward Emmy Owens and sophomore midfielder Alex Bibo.

“We need to stay healthy and get up to speed with the new players on the team,” Durano said. We “came close to winning Metro last year, and the team is ready to compete for it.”

The team also includes sophomore defenders Cassie Kroon, sophomore defender Kendall Butz, sophomore forward Crystal Kyanko, freshman forward Kasey Stavig, freshman midfielder Kaila Reed, senior midfielder Millie Walton, freshman forward Adalina Bajrami and freshman defender Maddy McGarry.

WESTVIEW

ROCK CREEK — Westview girls soccer has firmly established itself as one of Oregon's best soccer programs over the past half decade, reaching the state semifinals in each of the past four years.

But the Wildcats know that repeating that feat will be more of a challenge than ever in 2012.

We'll “probably be middle to back of the pack,” said Westview coach Chris Martin. “We are very young and need to keep positive chemistry as we are improving.”

This year's team brings back just one all-leaguer in senior defender Sarah Jenson (once she returns to the lineup as she recovers from a knee injury), but more varsity experience in senior defender Paige LaFlamme, senior midfielder Ivy Kasai (also recovering from a knee injury), junior midfielder Jadyn McMillan, senior midfielder Allison Messenger, junior midfielder Laura Camp, senior midfielder Erika Cook and junior forward Mac Kearney.

“Jadyn McMillan should be strong in the midfield. We are counting on her to spark our offense,” Martin said. “Paige LaFlamme and Sarah Jenson are two seniors I am counting on for leadership. With such a young team, we need to have consistently positive leaders who do so through both actions and words.”

The team is also looking for big things from sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Lusby.

She “figures to be very steady in the goal and we are counting on her to provide stability and consistency throughout the season,” Martin said.

Also on the team are junior Rachel Wallace, junior Riley Fisk, junior Marissa Reid, junior Lizzy Coryell, sophomore Renee Bodart, sophomore Michelle Bodart, sophomore Jamie Neimann, sophomore Kendall Huston, sophomore Olivia Brown, sophomore Reed Richardson and freshman Mallory Ashcraft.

“We are limping — again — but certainly have the skill to compete,” Martin added.