Mustangs are young, but talented


Coach Hyde sees a bright future ahead for her girls soccer team

With five freshmen on varsity and four of them starters, Milwaukie High School’s girls soccer team is a work in progress.

Still, Milwaukie fifth-year head coach Kelly Hyde believes her Mustangs can advance to postseason play this fall.

“We are much younger [than last year],” Hyde said. “We graduated a lot of seniors. But we have a lot of potential. We’re still gelling as a team and trying to find out what works best....

“I would like to win a play-in game and get to the state playoffs, and I think we can do that....

“We’re in a very tough league, so the key for us will by playing together and fighting for each other, battling every game, every minute.... Working hard, keeping our heads up and trying to improve every day.”

The Mustangs struggled to put the ball in the net in early preseason, but Hyde said she believes the goals will come.

They were outscored 11-0 in their first three preseason games, but they didn’t have the easiest schedule. And since a 0-3-0 start, they’ve earned a 0-0 tie with Benson and they’ve beaten Roosevelt 3-0.

A top 24 ranking (out of 39 Class 5A teams) is required to make a state play-in game.

The Mustangs are in a very tough league. Northwest Conference teams Sherwood and Wilsonville played for the state championship last year and Putnam, which tied for fourth in the league, advanced to the quarterfinals.

“If I had to pick a favorite, it would be [defending NWOC champion] Sherwood,” Hyde said. “They return most of their girls from last year. But there are a lot of good teams in our league.”

Through play Sept. 27, NWOC girls soccer teams had won or tied 33 of 46 preseason games, and four teams from the Conference — Sherwood, Putnam, Sandy and Liberty — were ranked in the top 10 in the state.

Leading the charge for the Mustangs this fall have been returning starters Rachael Gallaway (midfield), Jessaca Reed (sweeper), Sadie Gallaway (defense) and Darrienne De La Rosa (midfield).

Rachael Gallaway, a senior, has started since she was a freshman; senior defender Reed has started since she was a sophomore. Sadie Gallaway and De La Rosa are both juniors.

Two other lettermen return — senior midfielder Leyla Ersan and sophomore defender Bailey Funston.

Freshmen who have cracked the starting lineup include: Samantha Persad, in the midfield and at forward; Krista Sanford in the midfield, Claire Adams on defense, and Emily McCarty in-goal.

Freshman Zel Reiter comes off the bench to play in the midfield.

Rounding out this year’s varsity roster are: seniors Zoey Huppunen (goalkeeper), Hana Whisman (forward) and Karla Aranda (midfield); juniors Maria Jimenez (all-around) and Bailey McCord (midfield); and sophomore Shelby Kennedy (goalkeeper).

The Mustangs (1-3-1) begin NWOC play this Thursday, hosting St. Helens (3-0-2).