With each passing season of high school athletics, graduating seniors leave gaps to be filled, and the same holds true for the Fife girls’ soccer team.
While they have lost key starters at forward, defense, and goalkeeper due to “Pomp and Circumstance,” the Fife High School girls’ soccer team is looking to improve upon last year’s near-perfect season, when they did not lose a league game and went to the state quarterfinals during head coach Jeff Stock’s first year in charge.
“With a younger squad, there will be more emphasis on team cohesion and team defense,” Stock said.
Senior forward Jessi Crabill and defender Haley Steever echoed Stock’s focus on team defense versus a collection of stars making plays.
Steever said one of her primary goals for this year is to bring the team together with many players playing together for the first time.
Although the team will be filling voids with less experienced players, sophomore midfielder Claudia Snope is the only underclassmen currently listed on the team varsity roster.
Senior goalkeeper Taylor Flessner will take control at goal after spending last year as the varsity backup.
One key change to soccer this season will be the addition of points awarded for penalty kick losses. A loss in penalty kicks will still count as one point, potentially changing team strategy in close games.
Also, along with all Fife High School sports, girls’ soccer will be joining South Puget Sound League 2A (SPSL 2A). The league will consist of Eatonville, Franklin Pierce, Sumner, Steilacoom, Washington, and White River.
“With the teams added, it’ll make us more competitive for postseason play,” Stock said., referring to increased competition in the regular season as part of SPSL 2A. One focus for the Trojan soccer girls will be to set the tempo with good games against the new teams.
Stock will be assisted this year by Paolo Mottola, who coached Norte Prep Academy (Arizona) to a state championship in 2008, as well as club soccer with Highline Premier FC.
The Trojan girls will begin their season with a pair of non-conference away games, Sept. 7 at Bonney Lake High School and Sept. 9 at Decatur High School.
The girls’ home field this year will be at Surprise Lake Middle School on Milton Way in Milton.
“I don’t like people looking at us like the underdog because of our losses,” Steever said.
Steever will have an opportunity to eliminate that perception in league play beginning Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in a home game against Franklin-Pierce High School.
The regular season will end Oct. 28, at home, against rival Steilacoom High School. Fife beat Steilacoom 4-2 in last year’s league championship game.