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Sunset, Southridge look to end Crusaders reign

Taylor Coon and Apollos aim at title


Jesuit- the sovereigns of girls Metro soccer league the last decade- have to be knocked off their perch before someone other than the Crusader can be picked as the preseason league favorites. That being said there are two or three teams including senior-heavy Sunset and Southridge who don't want to be let out of the league title talk.

“Until someone beats Jesuit, you expect them to be league champions. Sunset returns a lot of key players and should be very good,” said Southridge coach Jeffery Lim. “The league, as a whole, has really improved from last year. One of the things you learn about the Metro is it usually comes down to the end. Each game day in and day out, everybody's playing well.”

Jesuitby: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Jesuit forward Molly Petrusich guides a senior-heavy Crusader team that reached the state final last season.

Eight seniors that have been on the varsity since their freshman season pace the state-runner up Crusaders who were rarely challenged last season until the state championship game.

“We have some experience and that always counts for a lot in high school soccer,” said head coach Steve Fennah. “When you have a decent-sized group of seniors that makes a big difference. We also have a talented group as well. They're kids that can be very, very successful.”

Across the backline Jesuit has seniors Lexi Frey, Arianna Hudson, Jessica Bramlett, and Ilyssa Holt all returning to a defense that only gave up seven regular season goals last year.

“Frey is probably one of the best players in the state and kind of leads the line there,” said Fennah. “Holt and Hudson provide us good options going forward and then Bramlett just dominates the physical battle a lot of the time. She's very good in the air winning headers.

Senior goalie Francesca Orlando and junior Lindsay Lamont have split time between the posts early in the season.

Senior midfielder Molly Petrusich, senior forward Simone Herzberg play along the attacking levels. Junior Madison Kincaid is a “big scoring threat” according to Fennah who led the Metro in scoring two years ago as a freshman. Sophomore Melisande Gavin and junior Aliyah Chance are important players when it comes to providing scoring opportunities. Fennah likes to put Petrusich all over the pitch and let her create both for herself and her teammates.

Jesuit's philosophy hasn't changed in nearly 20 years. They prefer to possess the ball, pass it to the open player and attack with a purpose. On defense the Crusaders press and plug away.

The Crusaders set their sights high every year but Fennah said Sunset and Westview will be in the running for the Metro title.

“We need a little bit of luck, we need to stay healthy,” said Fennah of the Crusaders' prospective. “And, we just need to be composed when we play. Everybody's always up to play against us and we need to maintain our composure.”

Beaverton

Beaverton was ranked towards the bottom of the preseason Metro coaches' poll, which didn't sit well with new head Jon Wilkins.

“I think we'll be better than the ratings have given us,” said Wilkins. “They put us at fifth or sixth and I think they're going to be shocked this year.

“We have some great up-and-coming talent, some club players who are coming into the mix,” continued Wilkins. “We have a couple of good strong returning players who are going to help lead us this year as we look to be more of a powerhouse within the Metro.”

Senior center-back Kelly Priest is a well-known club program player in the area and will be one of the Beavers' team captains. Fellow senior forward Robyn Schmutzer is another club player who works hard on and off the ball. Wilkins expects Schmutzer to be one Beaverton's top goal scorers. Senior goalie Kylee Coon is “good at organizing and a solid shot stopper”.

Wilkins said freshman Cassy Harrigan is an impact player with great footwork and vision on the pitch. Payton Moore plays soccer year-round and has fast feet and a willing attitude to work. Sophomore Sammy Harrington is back to full strength after tearing her ACL last season. Harrington is another player Wilkins sees a threat to put the ball in the net and create offensively.

As the Beavers' new skipper, Wilkins said his philosophy is to develop players and help them have an enjoyable experience in the Metro. Beaverton seeks to build up a possession style of play that's quick to attack and get the ball back.

“The Metro is a top-tier league, you are playing a bunch of quality players every day,” said Wilkins. “It's about who can peak at the right time, how they can come together as a group. You only get your team for three months so it's a good challenge to see if you can get them to mesh as a group.”

Sunsetby: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Sunset and Elly Williamson and Southridge have veteran-laden teams that could challenge Jesuits dominance in the Metro.

A fearsome backline headlined by All-Stater and Arizona State commit Taylor Coon has Sunset thinking big going into 2013.

“I would say us, Jesuit, and Tualatin are easily top three (teams) in the state,” said head coach Ben Durano.

Coon-the 2013 200-meter state champion-has speed, strength and tenacity plus she's a vocal leader who will can help shepherd the six freshmen expected to contribute to the Apollos.

“Coon, along with Lexi Frey at Jesuit, will probably be the best defender in the state,” said Durano. “She brings stability for us in the back, and just covers a lot of ground in the back. Opponents fears her because of her size and speed.”

Freshmen Riley Brown, Amanda Carpenter, Halina Delarosa, Kate Cyr, Rose Pflug, Nia McFerrin, and Sydney McRae are all expect believed to see playing time this year.

In the back defense, Taylor Coon, Payten Sonnen and Grace Mettler, along with goalkeeper Taylor Luty (all seniors) anchors the defense. In the middle, junior Alex Bibo and sophomore Kasey Stavig return to lead the attack, with seniors Elly Williamson and Emmy Owens up front.

“We return a strong group from last year,” said Durano. “Taylor Coon is the team leader, and along with the other seniors, will try to come together as a team. The key to our success is staying healthy throughout the Metro league season and how the team successfully integrates the new players on the team.”

Durano said he expects Jesuit, Southridge, and Beaverton to battle with Sunset for top honors in the Metro.

Aloha

The Warriors want to get out of the cellar of the Metro and into the 6A playoff conversation.

“We are continuing in our goal to improve our play and standings every year,” said head coach Ron Overton. “We were very young last year with 5 freshmen starting for us, now they have gained a lot of Varsity experience and we have a very good balance of experienced returning starters and quality new players.”

Aloha is led by our senior all-leaguer Laura Nguyen at center midfield along with seven other returning starters. Overton said major contributions should be made in the back line by the addition of Macayla Jentzsch a senior transfer, Marissa Ward who will be returning from a season ending knee injury last year and Tasi Poore, “a very talented and physical” freshman. Aloha's midfield will be strengthened by the additional of Tea Poore and Alba Ruiz. Overton said goaltending will be solid this year with the return of sophomore Ali Graham who played very well for us last year as a starter.

“Defensively, and at central midfield we continue to get stronger and deeper,” said Overton. “Our experience in the back and the new additions will allow us to continue to improve in that area. Overall we will be a faster team than in years gone by but our main strength and improvement area will be the ability to put 11 quality players out on the field and be able to bring in quality players off the bench as required during the long metro season.”

Southridge

The Skyhawks- with 11 returners and four all-league players-are the most experienced team in the Metro and a squad that wants to challenge Jesuit and Sunset.

“That depth and experience should really carry us this year,” said head coach Jeffrey Lim. “It gives us some cohesion and helps some of the new kids we have adjust quickly. Having kids that have been there and been through the grind of the Metro season is really helpful in guiding the younger kids along the way.”

Junior Andie Giles led the Skyhawks in scoring last year was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-state. Lim said he expects Giles to carry that role again because she's adept at winning 50/50 balls and attacking offensively. Senior defenders Maddie Misi and Meridith Greer were both all-league as well. Lim said each has a nose for the ball whether it's in the air or tracking it in the open field. Greer is a solid distributor in the backline and is a “smart, heady player who does a lot of things keeping things organized” according to Lim. Dana Carlson is the Skyhawks' fourth all-league returner at forward. Carlson finished last year on a high note and took her game to the next level over the summer. Hailey Debois is a senior captain in the midfield who Southridge relies on as well.

“Our ultimate goal is to keep for one of the top spots in the league,” said Lim. “We have Sunset a good run for it in the games we played them. We have Jesuit a good run along the way. I don't think this team will be any different.”

Westview

If there's one team that has inside intel on how to eradicate the Crusaders, it's Westview. Former Jesuit assistant coach Ralph Halewyn took over the Wildcats as the head coach this summer, armed with an intimate knowledge of the Crusader program and how it operates.

“I think we'll contend in the Metro and Jesuit's senior core,” said Halewyn. “We have to go into every game with the mentality that every game is going to be a dogfight. With the playoff format the way it is, you want to see how high of a seed you can get.”

Six seniors: Jadyn McMillan, Riley Fisk, Laurea Camp, Mac Kearney, Marisa Reid, Rachael Wallace and Lizzy Coryell lead the Wildcats this season. Halewyn said the best overall player is McMillan in the midfield who can also play forward.

“She has exceptional skill,” said Halewyn of McMillan. “She can read the play really well and not only set herself up for goals but assist other players in getting goals as well. She'll be our playmaker going forward.”

Supporting McMillan are Camp and Reid who play defensive-mid roles. Junior goalie Rachel Lusby guides a strong group of juniors that includes Reed Richardson, Jamie Neimann, Olivia Brown, Kendall Houston, Renee and Michelle Bodart.

“We have a good veteran group coming back and some good young players coming in,” said Halewyn. “This team has bonded really well. We have to play as an entire defensive unit, win the ball and keep possession. That's something we have to work on.”




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