Coach projects a turnaround for OC girls
Coach Russell says she believes her senior-dominated team will be highly competitive
Spirits are high and coaches and players alike have high hopes for the beginning of a turnaround in Oregon City High School girls soccer this fall.
Heading into this season the Pioneers have finished last or next to last in the Three Rivers League over the past four seasons and theyve won only four of 42 league games during that span.
I dont know that much about the other teams in the Three Rivers League, said Oregon City co-head coach Alissa Russell. Were going to worry more about ourselves than our opponents. But if we come out each game and work on what we need to do, I believe we can beat anybody we face.
Russell says the Pioneers have good team speed, great senior leadership, and theyve been working hard on defense, passing, and developing their transition game.
The girls are doing a tremendous job holding each other accountable, said Russell. Weve got great team leadership. Theyre going above and beyond our expectations right now....
This is their senior year for a lot of our players. Were looking for things to start clicking and for our seniors to finally have some success.
This years Pioneer roster is senior dominated. There are 18 players on the varsity roster and 11 of them are seniors.
The Pioneers do have talent, and most of the players have experience in varsity-level play. Despite going 0-9-1 in the Three Rivers League last year, four of the returning players garnered all-league honors a year ago. And no fewer than 14 of the Pioneers 18 players are varsity lettermen.
Oregon City returns three 2012 second-team all-league selections in senior defender Kayla Manassero, senior midfielder Sitera Allison and junior forward Lauren Thompson.
Returning seniors Kaitlyn Parr (midfield) and Jenna Stinger (defense) were both honorable mention all-league selections a year ago.
Russell says that the Pioneers are using their preseason to determine their starting lineup, but she insists everyone is going to get their share of playing time.
Were going to be running non-stop, so every one of our players is going to get tons of playing time, she said.
Heading into play this week, Russell said that the top prospects for two forward spots were: Thompson, senior Rachel Steinkamp and sophomore Lindsi Peters.
She listed Parr, Allison, seniors Courtney Phelps and Becca Houk, and sophomore Jennifer Burke as front-runners in the battle for the starting nod in one of the four midfield positions.
Top prospects in the back: Manassero, Stinger, senior Ashley Simmons and junior Mollie Thurber.
Rounding out the roster are seniors Lizzy Coryell (goalkeeper), Alyssa Durr (midfield) and Marley Melhus (defense); juniors Mariah Edgecomb (midfield) and Monica Curtis (defense/forward); and freshman Maddy Griffith (midfield/forward).
Manassero, Stinger and Phelps are team captains.
Russell says that Houk, Edgecomb and Griffith are the fastest players on the team.
The Pioneers opened preseason with a 2-0 shutout of Reynolds on Sept. 5. Steinkamp scored both goals and Reynolds had no shots on-goal.
The girls played well, said Oregon City co-head coach Becket Wright. Everyone was able to get good minutes. We are using this time to work out the kinks in our new formation, and are still working out specific positions for players.
The Pioneers entertain North Salem at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, and they open TRL play next Tuesday (Sept. 17), playing cross-river rival West Linn on the road.