Girls soccer a year older, wiser
Young squad hopes to play with aggression and post more wins
Hustle and chemistry are going to be the keys for the Madras High School girls soccer team this season.
Coming off a year in which the White Buffalos finished 2-11-1 overall, and winless in the Tri-Valley Conference at 0-9-1, head coach Mike Osborne said while the team is still young, there is considerably more experience on this season's squad.
"Our returners have stepped up into some leadership roles, and are helping direct the newcomers," Osborne said. "We've had some pretty good practices so far, and we're just trying to come together as quickly as we can."
After scoring just nine goals all of last season, Osborne is hoping to change that by spreading the offense around the team. He said he's going to rotate a number of players in the forward position, but said sophomore Kalan Wolfe is going to be one of the main strikers for the club.
"We just need to find what's going to be comfortable and who plays well together up front," Osborne said. "We've got girls who can put it in the net, and I think the issue is going to be if we can create opportunities to put the ball in the net."
With every good soccer team, there are outstanding midfield players that get the ball to the goal scorers, or score it themselves. With third-year varsity player Mariah Stacona anchoring the midfield, Osborne is expecting senior Itzel Romero to help out in distributing the ball and shifting defenses to create scoring chances.
Also, earning extra possessions and winning 50-50 balls is something he hopes the entire team will commit to, but it's especially important to do in the midfield.
"We'll have to hustle and get to balls, and we plan on playing pretty aggressive," Osborne said. "But we're also going to have to play fundamental as well, so knowing when we should clear the ball, or have time to start a build up, will be something to work on."
Janae Adams will be starting at goalkeeper in her first year on the varsity team, and while she hasn't had the experience in goal Osborne would like in a keeper, she's athletic enough that Osborne isn't too concerned.
"She gives us good size back there, and she moves well," Osborne said. "She's just going to have to learn on the fly a bit, so the first few games might be a little rough, but she'll work into it."
Returning defender junior Cristina Padron is slated to anchor the back line for the Buffs, and Romero will shift back there from time to time to provide extra support. Senior Cassidy Brown, who saw time at both defender and goalkeeper last year, will also be part of the Buffs' defensive lineup.
Madras lost just four seniors from last year's team – that also had five freshmen and five sophomores – so the bulk of the squad is a year older and wiser, which Osborne said should help a considerable amount.
As far as the TVC goes, it's one of the toughest conferences in the state for girls soccer. Gladstone, the two-time defending state champions, along with La Salle, Molalla and North Marion are all seasoned teams that run club teams during the spring and summer. Trying to compete against that has Madras at a distinct disadvantage, but the attitude of Osborne is that of concern for his own team, and hoping they play every match as hard as they can.
"We just have to continue to work on the little details of our game, and we should improve," Osborne said.
The Buffs open the season at 4 p.m. Wednesday, against La Pine, then hit the road for a 4:30 p.m. Thursday game against Redmond.