By Austin Block
Following in the footsteps of last yearâs team, the defending Southern California regional girlsâ soccer champions won their first four games of the season going into yesterdayâs game against Mira Costa, which took place after press time. The team will play San Clemente, ranked first in Division I, this Friday in the Mater Dei tournament.
The team defeated Notre Dame Academy 1-0 and blew out Pasadena 4-0 at home and beat Oaks Christian and Westlake on the road. The team only gave up two goals in those four games, both to Oaks Christian.
Head Coach Richard Simms said the team has not yet played to its full potential.
“I think that we can play better but to be honest itâs been pretty much exactly as I expected,” Simms said. “I knew weâd be a little sluggish and sloppy early on as everyone gets familiar with each other. Itâs been nice to win three games knowing we havenât yet played our best.”
“So far weâve done a good job of taking our scoring chances. We are capitalizing on our chances at a very high rate [about 1 out of every 3 chances has been a goal],” Simms said. “We need to work on passing better and working together a little better in transition. Our fitness will also need to improve but thatâs normal.”
“I think we need to work on coming out strong in the beginning instead of just warming up into the game,” said forward Haley Boysen â10, who has already chipped in three goals, two assists, and eight points for the team [each goal counts for two points and each assist counts for one].
Boysen has won the Mission League Offensive MVP two years in a row and is committed to USC.
The team will practice during winter break and plays Santa Barbara on Dec. 29. League play begins on Jan. 6 against defending league champion Flintridge Sacred Heart. The team will play nine more league games and its season will end against Chaminade, who finished second in league last year, on Feb. 10. The Wolverines finished third in league last year but reached the finals of CIF and won the regional championship.
Simms said the teamâs best player so far has been goalkeeper Rebecca Magier â12, who made 32 saves in the first four games for the team and has only let in 2 goals in 320 minutes of play.
“She has literally been saving us,” Simms said.
He also said that midfielders Danielle Duhl â10, who has five points, and Doni Hunter-Sallustio â10 have been playing well.
Duhl, Cami Chapus â12, Leah Merkle â10, Katie Speidel â11, and Alex Venegas â10 have scored this year along with Boysen. Speidel led the team with 16 goals last year.
“I feel like weâre just going to get even better as the season progresses,” Boysen said. “The chemistry this year is really awesome.”