Banks soccer looking to replicate last year's success
Braves hope to build off the program's first playoff victory
After the Banks girls soccer team put together the greatest season in school history in 2014, the plan for this year is to try to create more milestones.
Last fall, Banks finished third in the always tough Cowapa League and won a play-in game for the first time in school history. The Braves werent content, though, just to make the Class 4A playoff field. As the 15th seed, they shocked No. 2 Molalla in the first round and pushed eventual state finalist Cascade in a 2-1 quarterfinal loss, finishing at 8-6-3.
I kind expect to be in a similar situation, Banks coach Brian Reed said. It always comes down to that one game, the play-in game ... I expect us to be in a similar situation than we were last year, maybe even a little bit better team.
Reed had to wait until this week to see his team play its first official game (results from Tuesday against Yamhill-Carlton were unavailable at press deadline), but the team did participate in a preseason jamboree on the coast a few weeks ago.
Its going well, Reed said. The girls are getting in shape and getting conditioned. Im pretty optimistic really.
That optimism is easy to understand, given that Banks returns an all-state defender and several other key veterans, welcomes an impressive freshman class and should benefit from the presence of a skilled transfer or two.
Cassie Streblow returns to anchor the defense as a center back. Along with now-graduated midfielder Emily Vandehey, Streblow earned second team all-state honors last year, the first such distinctions in program history. The veteran defensive unit includes junior goalkeeper Lucy Plews and seniors Rachel Nikolaus and Aubrey Kimmel.
Other key returners include forwards/midfielders Ariel Slifka (senior) and Kim Jordan (sophomore), junior forward Lauren Hill and junior midfielder Jackie Smith.
Reed described Hill as probably the best soccer player we have, though she was not expected to play against Yamhill-Carlton as she continues to recover from a knee injury suffered during the jamboree.
Smith has continued to make strides since taking up club soccer a couple years ago, and Reed said that in the jamboree, she just did a really good job of owning her portion of the field and not really allowing anybody else to play in there.
As for that freshman class, Reed expects that between full-time and swing players, about five freshmen should see varsity action. He described the new group as fit, smart, committed athletes, as well as positive and hard-working.
Among them, Aspen Slifka (forward), Ariel Slifkas younger sister, and Courtney Berning (defender/goalkeeper) could work their way into the starting lineup.
Reed also was excited to welcome midfielder Samantha Pestner into the fold. A junior with family ties to Banks, Pestner is a club player who recently moved to the area from California.
Super skilled, super vocal and knows the game very well and has earned the respect of her teammates because of her hard work and just her personality, Reed noted. Shes definitely a leader.
The Braves travel to Molalla and Estacada for nonleague games next week before hosting Tillamook in their Cowapa opener on Sept. 22.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT