Eight players return with starting experience from the 2012 season

If their play in early preseason is any indication, the Milwaukie Mustangs will be much more competitive in Northwest Oregon Conference girls soccer this fall.

A year ago they went winless in the NWOC and won only two of 13 games, allowing opponents an average of 4-1/2 goals an outing.

The Mustangs have gotten off to a 2-1-1 start this fall. They allowed opponents a combined total of just two goals in their first four outings and their only loss was in a 1-0 barnburner with South Albany.

“I think we’re going to be stronger,” said Milwaukie coach Kelly Hyde-Sanchez. “We had a lot of freshmen on varsity last year. They’ve gotten stronger and now they’re accustomed to the higher level of play.... Sherwood, Liberty and Wilsonville are always strong teams, but I’m hoping we’ll battle with everyone [in conference] this year....

“We’re still young, but we’re very fast. I have a lot of speedsters on the team.”

The Mustangs are young. They have seven sophomores and two freshmen on this year’s varsity, and only four seniors.

Still, even with the youth, the Mustangs have talent and experience. Eight players who saw starting action a year ago return — seniors Darrienne DeLaRosa (midfield), Sadie Gallaway (defense) and Maria Jimenez (defense); junior Bailey Funston (defense); and sophomores Samantha Persad (forward), Claire Adams (defense), Krista Sanford (midfield) and Emily McCarty (midfield).

Gallaway and DeLaRosa are four-year starters; Jimenez and Funston are seeing their third season of starting action.

DeLaRosa was named to the NWOC second all-star team last season; Persad received honorable mention in the all-star balloting.

Senior Bailey McCord (midfield/forward), who saw a good deal of varsity playing time a year ago, has joined the starters this fall.

And the lineup has been bolstered by the addition of two talented freshmen in Chelsea Brooks (midfield/forward) and McKenzie Weinert (defense/forward). Brooks has been starting. Weinert, who has Olympic Development Experience, is just getting up to speed after recovering from an injury.

Junior Shelby Kennedy, who played at the jayvee level last year, has been solid in-goal in the Mustangs’ first four games. She made no fewer than a dozen saves in the loss to South Albany.

In other games this fall, the Mustangs defeated North Salem 5-1 and Hermiston 2-0, and they battled to a scoreless tie on a muddy grass field in a game with Madison.

Persad scored both goals against Hermiston, getting an assist from Brooks on one of the goals.

Persad turned the first hat trick of her varsity career in the season opener with North Salem. Brooks and Sanford also scored in that game; DeLaRosa had an assist.

Rounding out the Mustang roster are: junior Megan Huston (midfield/forward); and sophomores Alexa Mulford (midfield/forward), Allison Sam (defense) and Tieara Norman (midfield/forward), a transfer from Gladstone.

The Mustangs conclude the preseason this Thursday, when they play Roosevelt (0-4-0) on the road. Milwaukie opens league play on Thursday, Oct. 3, at St. Helens (2-1-1).

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