Spartans land four players on the all-league team and Dean Miyama earns coach of the year honors

The fall 2013 season was a remarkable one for the Hillsboro girls soccer team.

The Spartans rattled off a seven-game win streak early on, scored goals by the bunches, pushed league powers Tigard and Tualatin to the brink before finishing third in the conference, and won a state playoff game for just the second time in program history.

Having played key roles in the team’s success this season, four Hilhi players were named to the Pacific Conference all-star team, including two first team selections. They led a total of eight girls from the three Hillsboro schools to make the all-league team.

Additionally, Spartans coach Dean Miyama was named league coach of the year for helping orchestrate his squad’s outstanding run this fall. Tualatin senior defender Jill Farley, who led the Timberwolves to the Class 6A state championship earlier this month, was voted player of the year by the conference’s coaches.

The all-league awards add another highlight to a season chock-full of them.

“It’s been about six years since we had two girls on the first team,” Miyama noted.

That wait is over, thanks to Bri Miyama — Dean Miyama’s daughter — and Sami Moellmer.

The younger Miyama, a sophomore midfielder, is a repeat first team pick. She recorded seven goals and eight assists for the Spartans, playing primarily in the central midfield.

But her skills extend beyond the ability to find the back of the net.

“She’s ... one of our better technical players that understand the game, understand the ebbs and flows and the little nuances,” Dean Miyama said. “A lot of what she does doesn’t show up on the stats sheet. She kind of controls a lot and dictates a lot of what we do offensively.”

Moellmer took a huge jump after being named an honorable mention selection in 2012.The forward/midfielder scored nine goals and dished out 10 assists this season. The versatile junior brought pace, athleticism and a nose for the goal to the squad.

“She plays hard all the time. She causes a lot of chaos, but in a good way — her defensive pressure on the ball and just her speed and her energy are her strengths,” Miyama said. “And then obviously her finishing has improved a lot since her freshman and sophomore year. She got a lot more shots on target and she was a lot more composed in front of the goal.”

Diana Santiago, a sophomore midfielder who repeated as a second team pick, contributed five goals and nine assists.

“Her and Bri kind of complement each other,” Miyama noted. “A lot of the stuff she does you won’t see on the stats sheet, but she sees the field, and her imagination and her creativity are off the top.”

Kylee Taube, a senior forward, was the team’s leading scorer with 15 goals and seven assists. The speedster capped her career with an honorable mention nod.

“Over the years, she’s learned the feel of just where to be,” Miyama said. “She was always ... opportunistic is probably the right word. A lot of her goals were runs that she made and balls got played into her, but a handful of her goals also was just johnny-on-the-spot — right spot, right time.

“That’s what goal-scorers do. They somehow just have a nose for the goal. They know where to be.”

As for his own honor, Miyama was quite modest in speaking of it.

“It was a nice honor, nice that the other coaches in the league recognized that we had a good season,” he said. “But yeah, I don’t think that it’s anything special that I did. I think it was just a good group of girls.

“We had a bunch of captains that focused a lot on team chemistry and team bonding. I guess their leadership style the girls just rallied behind. Team chemistry had a lot to do with it this year. A lot of times team beats talent.”

But it’s clear why the rest of the Pacific Conference coaches thought him deserving of the award. Miyama piloted the Spartans to a 12-4 overall mark and 5-2 in league play. Three of the team’s losses came to No. 1 ranked Tigard, eventual state champion Tualatin and state quarterfinalist West Salem. The team’s mark was easily its best under the guidance of Miyama, who took over the program in 2007.

Additionally, the Spartans won a state playoff game — a 5-0 waxing of Sprague earlier this month — for the first time since 1989, long before any of the current players were born.

Though Glencoe did not finish quite as high in the league standings, the Crimson Tide’s season also was a success.

A team with a new coach, a young roster and seven regular starters who did not even play varsity soccer last fall went on to post an 8-6-1 overall mark, went 3-4 in conference play, and shellacked McKay 7-0 in the play-in round to make the Class 6A state playoff field.

Probably the top freshman in the league this year, Olivia Dendinger led the three Glencoe players on the list with a first team selection. She provided a solid scoring threat up top for the Tide with 12 goals and about seven assists this season.

“She’s obviously just a very gifted soccer player,” Glencoe coach Andy Hetherington said. “She’s extremely athletic, but she just has it all. She can pass, she can dribble, she can head and she can finish. And she’s got really good speed, and she’s a handful.”

Hetherington moved junior Becca Burney to sweeper about midway through the season, and she earned second team honors, as did sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Kastelic.

Burney was part of a defensive unit that helped post nine shutouts this season.

“She just reads the game very well,” Hetherington said. “She’s not overly quick, but she’s got Howitzers on both feet. She hits the ball really hard, she reads the ball really well, her touch is excellent, and her overall vision and reading of the game is excellent. So putting her back there was just colossal for us.”

As for Kastelic, she played almost every minute of the season in goal and posted eight of those shutouts, including three in league play.

“There were games were she just kept us in it and kept us alive with some stunning saves,” Hetherington noted. “But what is standout about her is that she just does the everyday bread-and-butter stuff really, really well. She doesn’t make any errors.”

One Century player also earned all-league honors. Freshman midfielder/defender Liz Hansen was named to the second team. She led the Jaguars to a 3-10-1 season and a 1-6-0 mark in league play, good for seventh place.

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