It’s year two of a rebuilding process for Meadowdale’s girls soccer team.
During the first year in 2014, the Mavericks relied on 10 freshmen to shoulder a significant load after the graduation of eight starters. Those 10 freshmen have a year’s experience of varsity play and a year with Ryan and his system of play.
“We’ve got a very young team,” Ryan said. “They have a great positive attitude. They’re working hard. I’m really excited about this year.”
In the second of three preseason contests, Meadowdale lost 3-1 to Eastside Catholic on Saturday at Edmonds Stadium. Sophomore forward Alex Hughes scored the lone Mavericks’ goal.
Ryan was pleased at the progress his squad showed from its first game, a 2-1 loss to Bothell on Thursday.
“They made great shots and we had two defensive errors, which cost us,” Ryan said. “We had a couple of great chances to score, but we just didn’t quite get it in.”
The Mavericks (0-2 overall) came into the 2015 season definitely more comfortable from both the coach’s and players’ perspective.
“It’s made a big difference,” Ryan said. “I know all the kids. They know me and know the style we want them to play.”
Ryan wants Meadowdale to have a tight defense, quick transition and wants all his players flying up the field.
“We’re not quite there yet, but we’re much further along than we were last year,” Ryan said. “It requires a lot of possession, a lot of short little passes.”
What the Mavericks need is quite simple. “We need time together on the field,” Ryan said.
Meadowdale’s midfield looks to be especially strong with junior co-captain Hannah Taylor emerging as a strong leader. The offense runs through Taylor.
“She’s the quarterback and the heart and soul of the team,” Ryan said. “She does it all – offense, defense and she’s fantastic in the air. She attacks the ball. She’s great with her feet. She’s an excellent passer and the other thing is that she’s got incredible soccer IQ.”
Sophomores Lexa Long and Erica Romulo join Taylor in the midfield. Up front the Mavericks look to Hughes. Much of the scoring, however, likely will come from the midfield.
Meadowdale’s defense is anchored by two senior co-captains – Tiffany Daniggelis and Molly Todd. Two new faces are junior goalkeeper Alivia Wynar, who was on JV last season, and freshman Cassidy Gamble.
Wynar doesn’t have a lot of experience playing goalkeeper but she’s been training all summer and has shown good progress, Ryan said.
Even with a roster dominated by freshman, the Mavericks advanced to the playoffs last season and Ryan is hoping for a repeat.
“I think we’ll be strong,” he said. “We hope to move up.”
— By David Pan