Prep girls soccer preview: Young Hawks plan to focus on defense this season

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Seniors Taitumn Simbulan and Avery Coleman, plus Coach Alvin Little (from left to right), watch a recent practice of their 2019 Mountlake Terrace Hawks girls soccer squad. The team opens its season on Saturday, Sept. 7. (Photos by Doug Petrowski)

After qualifying for postseason play in 2016 and 2017, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks girls soccer team stumbled to just one win last season and were left out of the 2A district tournament. The team is looking for better results this year.

“The goal is to always get to make it to the postseason,” noted senior Taitumn Simbulan.

Simbulan and her Hawk teammates begin their quest for redemption on Saturday, Sept. 7, when they host the Sedro-Woolley Cubs in a non-league match at Edmonds Stadium.

While earning a spot in the postseason district tourney is a team goal, Simbulan realizes there is plenty of work to do now in order for the squad to stand up to the rigors of a 16-game regular season.

“We have a lot of young players this year, so we’re trying to really build up our strength so that we can be stronger against the older teams,” Simbulan explained.

The Hawks lost six seniors to graduation from last year’s squad and will need to fill some vital spots on the roster with underclassmen. Simbulan and Avery Coleman are the only two senior members of this year’s team.

Returning sophomore Veronica Rhoten is expected to be the Hawks’ starting goalkeeper again this season, but may also get some time as a position player out on the pitch this year.

Coleman and junior Bailey Sonko are expected to anchor the Terrace starting 11 as central defenders, in front of a rotation of goalkeepers led by returning sophomore goalkeeper Veronica Rhoten. Defense is an emphasis this season as the Hawks surrendered an average of 3.4 goals per match last year.

“We’re definitely working really hard on defense,” noted Simbulan. “We have a strong backline, strong keeper; hopefully the defensive third is going to look really good this year.”

Simbulan may play some on the backline also, but could also see time at midfield and as a forward.

Returning sophomore Lindsay Ho could also be utilized in many positions this season for the Hawks. “She’s been working really hard during practices and she’s shown a lot of improvement,” Simbulan said of Ho. “She’s really strong, she’s really fast and has a lot of skill. She’s kind of one of those players who can do anything.”

Where the goal scoring will come from is still a mystery for Terrace (the team scored only seven all of last year), but sophomores Daphne Andrews and Veronica Gomez may get their chance to show what they can do up front. Simbulan sees plenty of potential in the two of them, especially Gomez.

“She’s really good up top,” Simbulan said of the sophomore. “She has a lot of foot skills. During practices she’s been dribbling around everybody. I really have high hopes for her in goal scoring.”

Sophomore Daphne Andrews dribbles down field during a recent Hawks’ practice.

The challenge for Terrace this year is tougher considering the schedule ahead of them. The 2A/3A Wesco League includes four teams that qualified for the 3A state tournament last year – Edmonds-Woodway, Snohomish, Shorewood and Shorecrest; the Hawks face all four during a three-week stretch that begins on Sept. 24.

Four of the Terrace’s first six home matches will be played at Edmonds Stadium; the final three games of the regular season will all be home matches played at Lynnwood High School.

Mountlake Terrace Hawks 2019 Girls Soccer

Coach: Alvin Little (fourth year)

2019 first game: versus Sedro-Woolley; Saturday, Sept. 7; 3 p.m. at Edmonds Stadium

2018 record: 1-12-1 in 2A/3A Wesco League, 1-14-1 overall

2019 key players: Taitumn Simbulan, senior midfielder/defender; Avery Coleman, senior defender; Bailey Sonko, junior defender; Makaila Nelson, junior forward/midfielder; Lindsey Ho, sophomore midfielder/defender; Veronica Gomez, sophomore forward; Daphne Andrews, sophomore forward/midfielder; Abby Parker, sophomore defender

2019 schedule: click www.wescoathletics.com/index.php?pid=0.3.40.11.320 

— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski

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