Heidi Hunt takes over a Rangers program that competes with 4A powers Gladstone, Molalla and LaSalle Prep

Armed with several returners, a new coach and fresh hope, the Estacada girls’ soccer team is ready to take a step or two forward.

Estacada has been desperately searching for a recipe for success for a long time. The Rangers are confident that this season will be the first sign they may have found it. The veteran players in the program haven’t seen quite as much success as they would have liked, but their faith has been renewed with the hire of Heidi Hunt as the new head coach.

Hunt was coaching the junior varsity squad before being promoted prior to this season, but she has been involved in soccer forever. She played the game in high school and college, and she has coached in some capacity for 16 years.

Hunt’s expertise and experience are exactly what the Rangers need to turn the program around. Estacada needs a change of fortune to erase the disappointment of last season. In the 2012 campaign, the Rangers went winless in their final nine matches after winning two of their first four.

Estacada really needs a jumpstart on offense as a lack of scoring was the reason for last season’s losing skid. During that nine-match winless streak, the Rangers did not score a single goal. Granted, a lot of that had to do with the conference they played in. Three Tri-Valley League teams, Gladstone, Molalla and La Salle, advanced to the state quarterfinals, with Gladstone going on to win the state championship. That means six of the Rangers’ final eight matches were against teams who finished eighth in the state or better.

Fortunately for Estacada, it was generally solid defensively last season, despite the stiff competition. The Rangers recorded four shutouts in their first nine matches before running into the buzz-saw of the Tri-Valley League elite.

The Rangers understand a complete turnaround will take some time. They still play in one of 4A’s toughest leagues and it isn’t realistic to expect them to compete for a league crown right away. It is realistic to look for Estacada to be better. The team is capable of winning a few more contests, if it can show some improvement on the offensive side of the ball. If the Rangers’ defense can improve along with the offense, they might give one of the conference’s top teams a scare in a match or two.

When all is said and done at the end of the year, the Rangers will judge their success on what they learned, how hard they worked and how much fun they had. If they can find satisfaction based on those criteria, it will be a successful year. Success by those standards may even yield success on the scoreboard and in the standings.

Contract Publishing

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