Coming off not only a state soccer championship but an undefeated season, the Summit girls are back and looking for a repeat.
Jamie Brock, the Storm's veteran head coach, is optimistic about the season ahead. She notes that while the team lost two key players to graduation and the squad's makeup may be altered, the players occupying the offensive and goalie positions should remain the same.
“So every season is totally different,” Brock says. “We only lost two seniors, so people are saying, 'You should be able to walk right into another championship, right?' But it doesn't work that way. It's all about team dynamics.”
Rachel Estopare, the Storm's star goalkeeper going into her fourth varsity season, was named all-state honorable mention in 2012, but Brock contends that Estopare is currently the best goalie at the 5A level and one of the Storm's greatest assets.
“You don't typically walk in as a freshman and be a full-on varsity keeper,” Brock says. “And a really good one at that.”
The Storm has won two 5A state championships, both with Estopare in goal. The first title came in 2010 with a 1-0 victory over crosstown rival Mountain View. Summit beat Sherwood 3-0 last November.
“Being the keeper that she is, she is a huge part of our team. She was on the state championship team her freshman year,” Brock says. “She is a huge part of why we got a state championship twice now.”
Brock says that the Storm's biggest hurdle is keeping players healthy. Most members of the Summit varsity team play soccer year-round, so many of the players are coming into the fall season with pre-existing injuries.
“I think our biggest issue is going to be staying injury-free,” Brock says. “Illness always comes into play in the beginning of the year. But in terms of weaknesses ... we have the same girls as last year.”
After losing two starting seniors from last season, Sydney Parchman and Presley Quon, Brock says that she wants to focus on creating a strong team bond.
“The soccer is probably the easy part to coach,” Brock explains. “It's the team dynamics and making sure they work well together (that) is totally different. So we take it year by year. We don't really know what we have yet, but I know the girls are super excited and the talent is there.”
Injuries and sickness aside, Brock says her team is strong again this season and has the potential to repeat its 2012 performance. But they are focusing on each practice and game.
“I'm just excited for this season,” Brock says. “We're a good team. We're going to be one of the better teams in the state regardless. I get goose bumps not for winning a state championship but because I like to see these girls play.”
Prep girls soccer at a glance
A look at the Central Oregon teams for the upcoming season:
Head coach: Mackenzie Groshong (third season)
2012 record: 6-4 overall, 4-2 IMC (second); lost in Class 5A state quarterfinals
Outlook: Bend lost 11 of its 18 players from last season, and with only seven returning to varsity, Groshong is looking to rebuild. She has named senior Delaney Crook and junior Hannah Cockrum as team captains.
Head Coach: Donnie Emerson (first season)
2012 record: 8-7 overall, 2-4 IMC (third); lost in Class 5A play-in game
Outlook: In his first season as the girls varsity head coach after coaching the Mountain View JV boys program, Emerson is optimistic that Mountain View will improve on last year's record. The Cougars have 10 seniors leading the squad and a total of 16 returning players. Emerson has named junior goalie Sarah Bailey and senior defender Tayler Westover as co-captains for the season.
Head Coach: John Cripe (second season)
2012 record: 2-10 overall, 0-6 IMC (fourth)
Outlook: Redmond is in a rebuilding year after 14 of the Panthers' 16 varsity players from last season graduated. Cripe calls the youthful enthusiasm of the sophomore and freshman classes an asset. The coach hopes to build the program and maintain a consistent coaching philosophy with both the JV and varsity programs.
Head Coach: Richard Abrams (second season)
2012 record: 1-10 overall, 0-2 4A Special District 1 (second)
Outlook: The Cowgirls are looking strong so far this year in preseason workouts, according to Abrams. He says he has a young team and is working on a two-year improvement plan to generate more victories.
Head Coach: Mike Osborne (third season)
2012 record: 2-11-1 overall, 0-9-1 TVC (sixth)
Outlook: With more than 10 players coming back from last season's squad, the White Buffaloes look to improve on last season's campaign, which saw the Buffs tally the most wins since 2008.
Head Coach: Scott Winslow (10th season)
2012 record: 1-12 overall, 0-9 Sky-Em League (sixth)
Outlook: Numbers are low this year for La Pine, but Winslow says he has six starters returning from last season. With the low turnout, Winslow expects that the Hawks will not field a JV team this year.
Head Coach: Oliver Stretz (second season)
2012 record: 4-8 overall, 2-0 4A Special District 1 (first); lost in Class 4A play-in game
Outlook: With at least five returning seniors, Stretz says his team should produce more victories than last year. He says the team has the ability to place well in the state playoffs this season.
Head Coach: Audrey Tehan (second season)
2012 record: 12-4 overall, 9-1 Sky-Em (first); lost in Class 4A play-in game
Outlook: Sisters is looking for another successful season. Tehan says the Outlaws have been training in the off season, and after losing one senior, the dynamic will be similar to last year. She says this year's group is talented and ready to move deeper into the playoffs and potentially contend for a state championship.