Squad impresses in first outing of season


NAT ATTACK: Natalie Barnouw ’21 protects the ball against a Notre Dame High School defender on senior night in a 1-0 win in the last Mission League game of the season at Ted Slavin Field. Credit: Lucas Lee/Chronicle

Lucas Lee

The girls’ soccer team started its season strong, with hopes to win its third Orange County Winter Showcase.

During their home opener against El Dorado High School on Dec. 3, the Wolverines tied 0-0, helping them maintain their high seed position for the OC Winter Showcase.
With this momentum, the squad traveled to Northwood High School.

This year’s team is significantly smaller than last season’s. The roster consists of 15 players, including five new and six veteran and upperclassmen members.

“We have no seniors this year which at first sounded like a disadvantage, but we have some really good players and are really excited that this team will have two years together without losing a senior class,” midfielder Maddy Kirschenbaum ’21 said.

Juniors make up more than half the team, and sophomores and freshmen fill its remaining spots.

Due to the lack of seniors, the team relies on the experience
of the junior class, defender Jade Stanford ’22 said.
“I think the team is super close, and even though we
don’t have seniors there are a lot of juniors who stepped
up into leadership roles,” Stanford said.

Last season, the team went undefeated in league play and won
the Mission League Title. In the final league game of the year, the squad defeated Notre Dame High School 1-0 Jan. 31. The Wolverines also reached semifinals of the CIF Regional Tournament, but fell to Los Alamitos High School 1-0 and finished the season with an overall record of 18-2-6. Though the roster has shifted to a much younger set of players, the team’s goal remains the same, head coach and program head Richard Simms said.

“We graduated 12 seniors last year, so it’s really a brand new team,” Simms said. “We are just focused on the process of getting better every day. The goal is to consistently perform at a high level and meet the standards set out by our program.”

After a dominant season last year, the team hopes to recreate he same success, Kirschenbaum said.

“Goals for the season are to win Mission League and beat [Los Alamitos High School], who we lost to in the playoffs last year,
and [JSerra Catholic High School],” Kirschenbaum said.

To prepare for the season, the team has implemented two
fitness circuits that mimic the fatigue of playing for 80 minutes.
Forward Sophia Hayes ’22 said that the team is used to
hard practices.

“Everyone plays club which gets us in shape,” Hayes said. “[We have} experience playing with each other outside of school.”
The team works with the sports performance coaches twice a week to prepare for the season, Simms said. Through practice, the team has honed in on its strengths, Kirschenbaum said.
“[The team’s greatest strengths are] speed and team chemistry,” Simms said. “We are extremely fast and our players love playing together.”

The squad will travel to Fort Worth, Texas to compete
in the National Elite Prep Showcase in early January. After going undefeated in that showcase last year, these will be the players’ last non-league games before starting league play Jan. 8 at home against Marymount High School.
Last season, the girls defeated the Sailors in both matchups, winning 1-0 in the first matchup and 4-1 in the second matchup.

The next game will be against Hart High School on Dec. 10. This will be the second game against the Indians, who they tied 0-0 in the Aliso Cup Tournament.