This year’s Summit girls soccer team is not the same squad that reached the Class 5A state semifinals in 2016. It is not the same team that won four straight state titles from 2012 to 2015.
But Storm coach Jamie Brock knows the teams on their schedule do not see it that way.
“We always have a target on our back. We played Marist, and we lost, and Marist is going crazy,” Brock said during a practice at Cascade Indoor Sports gym last week, referring to a 3-1 defeat in Eugene in August. “This is going to be our reality. It doesn’t matter who we graduate. Everybody’s still going to call you Summit, so how do we rise to that challenge? And it’s frightening for some (players), and I think others are ready to step up to it.”
But nearly a month into the season, Brock said she still is not sure who will step into which roles on the reset Storm, who open Intermountain Conference play at Bend on Sept. 21. Like many other teams across Oregon, poor air quality caused by wildfires has wreaked havoc on Summit’s schedule, canceling jamborees and nonconference games and relegating practices to indoor facilities.
“I’ve never seen a season start like this,” said Brock, who is now in her 13th season as Summit coach. “When Summit’s field was all sunken in (in 2007-08), we practiced out at Sky View (Middle School), but we were still practicing outside. We’re playing indoors, and with a whole big group. We haven’t even looked at system of play, because we aren’t getting out on a field enough.”
In addition to renting time at an indoor field, Brock said the team has also practiced in the Summit hallways. Once, when even the air quality in the school was too poor to practice in, she had the players send in cellphone videos of them practicing their touches at home.
“While I have a lot of talent, I don’t know, necessarily, who is ready to step up,” Brock said. “We really are looking forward to getting some more games under their belts. There’s always that transition when you lose really standout kids, for another kid to be like, whoa, do I get this moment? Is this my moment?”
The Storm have lost first-team all-state players Meghan Day and Camille Weaver as well as Anniston Ward, who was a first-team all-IMC player in 2016. Brock estimated that those three, as well as Megan Cornett, were responsible for 40 of the Storm’s 93 goals scored in 2016. That leaves a big hole — or a big opportunity — in the Summit attack.
“In past years, we’ve had these big goal scorers, and we don’t have that anymore necessarily, because they all graduated,” said Michaela Gorman, a junior who was named second-team all-conference as a sophomore. “We’re trying to figure out who has those roles and who’s going to play where, so I’m getting shifted around a little bit right now.”
Gorman, who was on the Storm’s 2015 championship team as a freshman, said she and her teammates are still smarting from a 4-3 loss to Silverton in the state semifinals last November.
“They developed a legacy, and it’s heartbreaking to break that legacy,” Gorman said, referring to Summit players who won four straight state titles. “But sometimes you need to lose to kind of, like, get a sense of reality. Yeah, we are Summit, but we have to work for it. So I think it’s like a restart for us. And I think we can still get there.”
Like Gorman, senior goalkeeper Capra Williams said she started turning her sights to the 2017 season the day after the Storm’s semifinal loss.
“For goalkeepers, especially, we call it three-second memory: we lost, but now’s the time, get up off the ground, buck up and keep on going,” Williams said. “I’m glad we have another season to play for us seniors, and we better dig in and make the best of it. It might be a state championship, and that would be really cool. And if it’s not, we’re going to go out doing all we can to get there.”
A look at Central Oregon’s high school girls soccer teams for the 2017 season:
Coach: Gavin Meyers (second season)
2016: 14-3 overall, 7-1 IMC (second); lost in state quarterfinals
Outlook: Like the Storm, with whom they split the season series in 2016, the Lava Bears lost an IMC co-Player of the Year in Tayla Wheeler and have a number of experienced returning players, including seniors Kylee Roath and Julia Fecteau and juniors Amelia Anderson and Caroline Allers. “This team is fast — really fast,” said coach Gavin Meyers. “We really have some speed this year, which is really fun to see. And so we’re very offensively minded this year, which is great.” Meyers also said he is keeping his team focused on one game at a time, as he expects both Ridgeview and Mountain View to be improved and Summit to be as strong as ever. “It’s going to be a fun, competitive year, but there are no games you can really look past,” Meyers said. “If we take care of that, we should do well this season as far as the IMC and as far as playoffs.”
Coach: Don Emerson (fifth season)
2016: 5-10 overall, 3-5 IMC (third); lost in play-in round
Outlook: The Cougars have stumbled in preseason play, losing 5-0 at Sandy and 8-0 at Crescent Valley, but coach Don Emerson said he expects his young team to improve over the course of the season. “We are a very young team; we have six freshmen and four sophomores on our varsity roster,” said Emerson, whose team lost star goal scorers Abby Nopp and Rylee Dickenson to graduation. “But you can win with young teams if you can get them going in the same direction. With this incoming group of sophomores and juniors, the future is looking bright.”
Coach: Martha Segura (second season)
2016: 2-13 overall, 0-8 IMC (fifth)
Outlook: The Panthers struggled mightily in 2016, winning just two games and allowing the most goals in Class 5A, but second-year coach Martha Segura said she is encouraged by an increased turnout in 2017. “We actually have two teams this year, which hasn’t been something we’ve had in multiple years, and that creates competition within your program,” Segura said. “That was something we were lacking; people were handed a ticket to varsity. I think that’s a great step in the right direction.” With a 9-0 victory at Dallas on Tuesday, Redmond has already bypassed its total goals from 2016. “They’re all very experienced in dealing with adversity, and learning how to deal with that makes you a better player and person,” Segura said of her players. “We’re really not going to focus on the experiences we’ve had in the past, but more wins this year.”
Coach: Kyle Chown (fourth season)
2016: 6-7-1 overall, 3-5 IMC (fourth)
Outlook: Ridgeview has never been to the Class 5A state playoffs, but 2017 might be the year for the Ravens, who lost just two seniors after last season and return first-team all IMC player Aspen Jeter as well as Sierra Cassaro, Saylor Goodwin, Jordyn Buresh, Mackenzie Stadler and Madison Stadler. “We lost two seniors, and we’ve replaced them with new players who are close to equal,” coach Kyle Chown said. “This year — and last year, too — we’ve been focusing a lot on team goals and making the playoffs. That’s definitely something we can accomplish this year with everyone who’s come back.”
Coach: Jamie Brock (13th season)
2016: 14-2-1 overall, 7-1 IMC (first); lost in state semifinals
Outlook: As usual, the Storm are poised to reload after losing three key goal-scorers to graduation, but it remains to be seen who will take the reins to the Summit offense. “It’s a conversation we’ve had with multiple girls, who’s going to step up this year, who’s going to fill in the gaps of the kids who have graduated and moved on,” said Summit coach Jamie Brock. “These guys, the group underneath, gets a chance to shine. There is some new talent that’s coming up, and it will be interesting to see how they do.” Senior Capra Williams, who was named second-team all-IMC in 2016, is back in goal for the Storm, and seniors Maggi McElrath and Parker Campbell are back to lead a program that won state championships in their freshman and sophomore years.
Coach: Richard Abrams (sixth season)
2016: 1-12 overall, 1-9 TVC (sixth)
Outlook: The Cowgirls will have a new look in 2017 after eight seniors graduated and another player moved districts, so coach Richard Abrams said the team will rely on a core of eight juniors to take over the program. “We have a lot of fresh faces, and a lot more rebuilding,” Abrams said. “They’re pretty mobile, and we’ll be able to cover the field. If nothing else, we’ll have a good time.”
Coach: Shawn Darrow (second season)
2016: 3-10 overall, 2-8 TVC (fifth)
Outlook: The White Buffaloes won three games in 2016, matching their best win total since 2008. “This is my second year, so it was odd stepping in and having more success that we’ve had in a decade,” Madras coach Shawn Darrow said. “We’re building on the success we found last year. We should be competitive in all our league games. Not to diminish who we lost, but we have girls who can fill in those roles.” The Buffs have lost Chloe Martin and Ginny Huang, but return junior Erika Olivera, who was named first-team Tri-Valley Conference last season.
Coach: Jaron Jacobsen (first season)
2016: 3-10 overall, 3-7 Sky-Em (fifth)
Outlook: After winning five straight league titles from 2011 to 2015, the Outlaws took a step back in 2016, finishing in the bottom half of their league, and their long all-conference player, Nika Chick, has graduated. This preseason has also been a difficult one for Sisters: In addition to a 7-0 loss at Molalla and a 9-0 loss at Henley on Tuesday, its practice schedule has been interrupted by the nearby Milli Fire, and a jamboree and games against Madras and Klamath Union were canceled.
Coach: Scott Winslow (14th season)
2016: 7-7 overall, 5-5 SD4 (fourth)
Outlook: The Hawks reached the league playoffs in 2016, but after graduating a number of seniors La Pine is back to rebuilding with a young team — the starting lineup in Tuesday’s match against Santiam Christian included eight sophomores. “We are always going to work at a disadvantage in La Pine, because a lot of them touch a soccer ball for the first time when they get to high school,” La Pine coach Scott Winslow said, citing a lack of local recreational soccer and a high rate of transfers into and out of the school. “For us, we hang our hat on improving with each game.” Winslow noted junior Cheyenne Saul as a key returner, while senior Sydney Bright, who played as a goalie last year, will spend more time in the field in 2017.