Experience fuels team’s early success

Experience fuels team’s early success

FLYNNER FLYNNER CHICKEN DINNER: Defender Flynn Klace ’19 heads the ball in the 2-2 tie against South Hills in the first game of the Aliso Cup Tournament on Dec. 4. Both forward Katherine Hollis ’19 and midfielder Whitney Elson ’19 scored for the Wolverines. Photo Credit: Ryan Albert / Chronicle

The girls’ soccer team is off to a positive start after beating San Juan Hills High School 3-1 in the championship of the OC Winter Showcase on Dec. 1. As of press time, they have a record of 5-0-3.

On the road to this championship, the squad beat Long Beach Millikan High School 2-0, El Dorado High School 2-0 and Tesoro High School 2-0. The three winning goals in the final were from midfielder Natalie Barnouw ’21, forward Annabelle Heisel ’19 and midfielder Whitney Elson ’19. Coach Richard Simms said that he is proud of the team’s performance so far.

“We are off to a very good start but need to focus on being consistent and matching every opponent’s physicality,” Simms said.
According to an article by athletic director Jason Kelly, this is the second OC Winter Showcase title win for the Wolverines in the past four years.

The team only lost two members from last year’s squad, Ariana Miles ’18 and Denise Shkurovich ’18, to graduation. The 2017-2018 squad finished with a record of 13-5-3, going 5-2-1 in league play and being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the CIF SS D1 playoffs with a 1-0 loss to Upland High School.

“This team should be much stronger than last year’s,” Simms said. “Almost the entire team returned and have several new players that can make an impact. We also have 12 seniors, so it’s an experienced group.”

The Wolverines’ game plan has had to shift to a more offensive team.

“We are definitely trying to possess the ball more as we have a very strong passing team,” Simms said.

Whitney Elson ’18 and Katherine Hollis ’18 have stepped up in the Wolverines’ offense, each scoring three goals, accounting for eight of the team’s sixteen total goals.

“The seniors have made everyone on the team feel so incredibly welcome and supported,” forward Brooke Stanford ’21 said. “I admire them and their ability to prioritize soccer and make everyone feel important even though they are juggling a lot.”

The squad played San Juan Hills again in a consolation game of the Aliso Cup Tournament on Dec. 8. The Wolverines beat them once again by multiple goals, winning 4-1.
So far in the tournament, the team tied with South Hills High School 2-2, Hart High School 0-0 and Northwood High School 1-1.

After the Aliso Cup, the team’s next game is against Marymount High School on Dec. 13. Coach Simms said he is hopeful about the team’s chances this season.

“Our goals are to go deeper in the playoffs, win back our Mission League title and continue to support one another,” Simms said. “We want every player to be a great teammate, play hard, compete every day and have a great time doing it.”

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