Timberwolves take aim at the very top
Girls soccer: Tualatin, loaded with talent and depth, has high hopes for 2011
TUALATIN - Talk about having it all.
Talent - check.
Depth - check.
A high-scoring offensive attack - check.
Determination - check.
High hopes - double check.
The Tualatin High School girls soccer team seems to boast all of those things heading into the 2011 season.
'Overall, we're very, very strong,' Tualatin coach Rossano Rocha said. 'And we're very, very deep. This is probably the most balanced team we've had here - we're super, super balanced.'
The Timberwolves return a strong group of players from last year's squad that won the Pacific Conference championship at 13-1 while going 15-2 on the season and reaching the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Among those returnees is senior forward Anna-Marie Popma, who was tabbed the Pacific Conference Player of the Year in 2010.
'She's in the best shape of her life,' Rocha said. 'She's ready to go out on top. She's worked her butt off the last four years.'
Popma scored four goals in Tualatin's first match of this season, an 8-0 victory over Hillsboro last Thursday, giving her 81 goals for her high school career to that point.
Also playing up front for Tualatin will be sophomore Jill Farley, who was a first-team all-league pick last year, and senior returnee Cassie Baldwin.
'That's a heck of a trio,' Rocha said.
Junior Sarah Jacobson and sophomore Maddie Campbell could also see action at forward.
The Timberwolves also look to be loaded with talent in the midfield.
Senior Megan Freel, junior Kelsey Wagner and sophomore Lauren Helmreich could be the starters there.
'They're all all-league type of girls,' Rocha said.
Sophomore Megan Landmark, Campbell and sophomore Audrey DePaepe should all see action in the midfield.
'We're so deep there,' Rocha said.
That depth can also be found with the Timberwolf defense, where junior Erica Bruce, who was a first-team all-league pick last year, and junior Hana Dempsey, who was a second-team all-league pick, return.
Also set to see action in the back for the Timberwolves are junior returnee Mollie Freel, junior Makena Carkner, freshman Natalie Shen, sophomore Alyssa Durdel and freshman Aryana Harvey.
'We're very, very deep there,' Rocha said.
Tualatin also had a key returnee at goalkeeper in senior Celeste Cota-Wockenfuss.
Other players on the Tualatin varsity roster include freshman Adina Goodwin, sophomore Allexandra Aragon and freshman Kyla Hackelman.
'We've never had this much depth before,' Rocha said. 'We could put a whole second unit into a game and have zero drop-off.'
That has Tualatin looking optimistically at the 2011 season.
'Our hopes are very high,' Rocha said. 'Last year, we disintegrated due to injuries. This year, we have to make sure we stay healthy.'
Tualatin got off to a strong start to the league season. In addition to the 8-0 win over Hillsboro last Thursday, the Wolves posted a 4-0 home victory over Newberg on Tuesday.