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  2019 Statewide Girls Soccer Previews

5A, 4A, 3A: Returning All-State performers, some teams that could challenge for a title and incoming talent to watch for.

By: Brandon Hill
Published: 8/26/2019 7:31:38 AM
 


RETURNING ALL-STATE PERFORMERS

Returning All-State Performers
Analise Brunson, Madison (Senior Forward)
Maddy Lasher, Lake City (Senior Forward)
Ava Ranson, Timberline (Senior Forward)
Payton Baratcart, Boise (Senior Midfielder)
Kelsey Oyler, Rocky Mountain (Junior Midfielder)
Kasey Wardle, Rocky Mountain (Junior Goalkeeper)
Bre Norris, Boise (Junior Goalkeeper)
Mariah Albin, Boise (Senior Forward)

CLASSIFICATION OUTLOOK

Defending champion Rocky Mountain will look to build off last year’s impressive run, as a once young Grizzly squad returns plenty of key players. Last year’s leading scorer, junior forward Kelsey Oyler, will look to add on to her impressive resume with a commitment to Gonzaga already locked up.

But head coach Donal Kaehler said rebuilding the Grizzly defense will be key to defending their 5A title. Rocky Mountain lost All-State defenders Cassidy Quick and Caitlyn Ramon to graduation. In their place, Kaehler will look to sophomore defender Violet Rademacher and junior goalkeeper Kasey Wardle to shut down opposing offenses.

“We have sophisticated players who have played at a high level,” Kaehler said. “We can take more chances and build on last year.”

But the Grizzlies will have a target on their backs. The Boise Brave, which won 13 out of their last 15 matches, enters the season with eight returning players leading the way. But following the graduation of 5A State Player of the year Tara Brennan, along with most of the Brave’s backline, head coach Chris Siegenthaler said the summer’s biggest challenge has been sorting out his new starting lineup.

“Our returning midfielders are in excellent form and we have added two more talented youngsters to our depth,” he said. “We did almost everything right last year.  We just have to repeat the process for every game and finish strong, never let up.”

With a depleted defense, the Brave could have trouble repeating their seven-game shutout streak, but Siegenthaler said a reliable midfield should help make up the difference, with returning midfielders junior Kendra McDaniel and senior Payton Baracart leading the charge.

“Our attack was very explosive, and we improved talent in that area and are even more seasoned with the returners,” Siegenthaler said. “It should be our strongest area.”


 
 


RETURNING ALL-STATE PERFORMERS

Nicole Davis, Pocatello (Senior Forward)
Sydney Cromwell, Bishop Kelly (Senior Forward)
Alexis Pond, Bishop Kelly (Junior Midfielder)
Addison Moser, Preston (Junior Midfielder)
Paige Beem, Twin Falls (Junior Defender)
Hattie Larson, Sandpoint (Junior Goalkeeper)
Isabella Vinsonhaler, Bishop Kelly (Senior Defender)
Kylie Larson, Preston (Junior Defender)

CLASSIFICATION OUTLOOK

In the east, Twin Falls will find itself with a more experienced, seasoned squad in 2019. Head Coach Katie Kauffman said outside the loss of striker Madison Hicks, the Bruins have incredible depth at almost every position. Hicks said the young players of yesterday are quickly turning into the locker room leaders of today.

“We lacked a little bit of maturity last year in certain positions,” she said. “Hard work in the off season and continual attention to player development will help us with that this season.”

While Twin Falls may have lost its frontline leader in Hicks, the Bruin defense should remain stacked, with many key players returning for 2019.

“We had a very solid defensive presence on the field,” Kauffman said. “With all of our defensive players returning, we hope to continue to improve in that area and really hold some teams to the fire defensively.”

For Bishop Kelly, one key loss could make all the difference in 2019. The Knights lost their leading scorer Lauren Elwer, who was named as the Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018. With a whopping 48 goals in 2018 under her belt, the now Gonzaga Bulldog leaves a gaping hole in the Bishop Kelly offense.

But Head Coach Meagan Lynos said players like junior forward and midfielder Mia Cartwright and senior forward Sydney Cromwell could help fill the void left by Elwer, while junior defender Ali Cahtterton, committed to playing for Boise State, will help on the backline.

For Sandpoint, the road to a State Championship looks not impossible, but certainly more difficult than last year. Head Coach Conor Baranski said the Bulldogs relied heavily on their star seniors in 2018.

“We'll need new players to step up to score this year,” Baranski said. “I think we'll do that, though. Every year, I am impressed with how the senior class steps up in leadership and ownership.”

Despite not having record scorer Riley Walkington or a majority of his backline to lean upon, Barinski said he’s encouraged by the look of his new defensive squad and the crop of new seniors.

“We will have a totally new look this year,” he said. “We haven't had a game yet, but I feel good about what I've seen so far from our brand-new defenders.”


 



RETURNING ALL-STATE PERFORMERS

Caeley Ryan, McCall-Donnelly (Junior Forward
Morgan Teichert, Sugar-Salem (Senior Forward)
Keona Brown, Priest River (Senior)
Naomi Connolley, Grangeville (Junior)
Maia McSherry, McCall-Donnelly (Junior Midfielder)

CLASSIFICATION OUTLOOK

Sugar-Salem will look to take the Mountain Rivers Conference by storm, with five First-Team All-District players returning to the team for 2019, led by senior forward Morgan Teichert.

Head Coach Scott Terry said Teichert, who earned her district’s MVP award last year, will have an easier time leading her team, which is much more experienced than Terry’s 2018 squad.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced last year was only having one senior to lead the team and a lot of juniors learning how to lead,” Terry said. “This led to some bumps along the way in our practice intensity and preparation.”

With 10 seniors on the roster this season, the Diggers could have a tactical edge over opponents, as Terry said strategic development became a quintessential part of practice last year.

“I felt like we really turned the corner last year in understanding what we were trying to accomplish tactically,” he said. “We created more goal-scoring opportunities than in years past and utilized a more balanced attack as well.”

The Diggers’ second place finish in the State Tournament should create plenty of motivation heading into the new season, and with twice as many seniors as freshmen on the team, Terry said leadership should be no problem both on and off the field.

“I believe they are coming into this season with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder,” he said.  “They will be a fun group to watch this season. We are working to focus on one day at a time and put each day together into a memorable season.”

In the Intermountain League, Sun Valley will be looking to redeem their 2018 semifinals loss to Sugar-Salem. Head Coach Kelly Feldman said the Cutthroat’s biggest pitfall last year was a lack of preparedness for the high intensity of the State. Feldman said that first-game loss to Sugar-Salem served as a wakeup call for the team following an undefeated regular season.

“We rarely face challenging competition in our regular season, so it often takes us a game or two to get up to speed at that level,” Feldman said. “Unfortunately, you don’t have a game or two to adapt at that point.”

With all-time leading scorer Lily Fitzgerald no longer on the team, Feldman won’t have the luxury of leaning on such a dominant offensive force, something he said is both a blessing and a curse.

“We hope to be a more well-rounded scoring machine,” Feldman said. “We have the talent and depth to pick up where Lily left off. It takes time to develop the confidence and expectations in the team as a whole when you lose a superstar like that.” 



 


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