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OC girls smarter, quicker, more fit

OREGON CITY - Oregon City girls soccer coach Tina Boyd is hopeful that a year's experience will translate into a much better season than last fall, when the Pioneers went winless in the Three Rivers League.

'The girls returning are one year smarter,' said Boyd. 'They're quicker and in better shape. And most of our girls gained experience playing for club teams in the winter, spring and summer….

'We do have a young team, but I see a lot of talent, team camaraderie, good work ethic and leadership. These girls have been working really hard this past month and are determined to win games.'

The Pioneers return five starters: senior Natalie Clegg and sophomore Becca Houk in the midfield, senior Emily Hughes and sophomore Kayla Manassero on defense, and senior Mikayla Friend in-goal.

Friend could be a key in keeping the Pioneers competitive. This is her third season on varsity and she has extensive club experience.

There are only five seniors on the 19-player varsity roster.

Other returnees from last year's varsity include: junior Danielle Kirby (defense), and sophomores Cassie Downing (forward/defense), Marley Melhus (forward) and Ashley Simmons (defense).

The Pioneers were competitive in last Thursday's season-opener with Barlow, dropping a 2-1 heartbreaker.