The Barlow High graduate leads a potent front line for the Pilots heading into her senior season

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Barlow High graduate Micaela Capelle chases down a ball in front of a Portland State defender during Saturdays exhibition match between the two schools. Capelle is entering her senior season with the Pilots, having scored 17 career goals.  Barlow High graduate Micaela Capelle is poised for a big season on the Bluff as a top target for the storied University of Portland women’s soccer team.

Capelle enters her senior year with 17 career goals for the Pilots, despite having last season cut short with a torn ligament in her knee.

“It was not fun. I was never injured in high school, so I had to learn how to take on a different role and support my team from the bench,” Capelle said.

She is back at 100 percent to start her final season for the purple and white, leading a group of players that arrived on campus six weeks early to take part in conditioning drills.

“There’s always a point where you tackle someone and you think about it, but that’s gone now and the knee feels good,” Capelle said.

The Pilots enter this season ranked No. 22 in the preseason national poll after reaching the second round of the NCAA playoffs last fall. Capelle hopes to see her team climb the ladder and make a deeper run when the playoffs come around again in a couple months.

“We have a good mix of old and new talent,” Capelle said. “We just need to find a way to put that together and get deeper into the playoffs. We have a bunch of good players around me. There’s a lot of talent on the field, so we won’t be relying on just one person.”

Capelle earned a spot on the U20 national team in the spring of 2012, scoring one goal and picking up an assist during Team USA’s run to the CONCACAF championship in Panama.

“You play on a team like that and you see what a small margin it is from being a college player to being among the best in the world,” Capelle said.

She got off a team-best three shots, nearly missing on a pair of quality scoring chances, during the Pilots’ 1-0 exhibition win over Portland State on Saturday.

“Every Friday night at Merlo Field is magical,” Capelle said. “All the support out here from family to the students who turn out, it’s really an honor to be here.”

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