When the smoky air finally cleared and the blue sky made its appearance, the girls soccer squads from Juanita and Lake Washington high schools were given the green light to play some ball outside.
The Rebels and Kangs are set to unleash their skills in 3A KingCo action and the Reporter caught up with both squads as they prepared for battle.
Juanita sports a new head coach in Lynn Glenn, who said he’s got some good talent on the pitch and the Rebels will provide solid competition for their KingCo foes.
Glenn had two daughters play for Juanita and he’s coached for 18 years, including some time with Crossfire Select. One of his goals is to give back to the school.
“I just want them to play good soccer, really learn to love the game like I do and wanna play it when they’re still 50, like I still do,” said Glenn, who started kicking the ball when he was 5 and played high school soccer as well.
Top returners are seniors Ally Ingersoll (forward/center midfielder), Ellie Eason (center midfielder), Kyra Bethune (center midfielder) and Sheer Shalom (center back). Other top players are junior Karley Anderson, who returns as a center back, and freshman Lily Johnston, who will reside between the posts at goalkeeper.
Bethune, a four-year varsity player, is pleased with what Juanita is bringing to the pitch.
“I think everybody on varsity that I’ve seen is ready to compete, ready to play and I think that will transfer on the field during the season,” said Bethune, adding that building trust and establishing themselves as a team will be keys for Juanita (3-13 overall last season).
She takes a quick trip through her Juanita career and notes: “There’s been a lot of ups and downs throughout my journey as a Juanita Rebel just on the field, but I think this year I’m extremely optimistic, and I think (Glenn will) give us that fire that we were lacking in the previous years.”
Veteran varsity player Shalom noted that Glenn trusts the players on defense and she’s excited to get the ball rolling on the season.
“I think we have a lot of talent on the team. We just have to make sure that we can show every other team out there that we have that talent and that we can go out there and play as well as any other team in the league,” said Shalom, who added that her tennis skills — like mental focus and foot movement — translate onto the soccer field.
Glenn added that the Juanita and LW C teams will compete against each other in the Kirkland Cup at the end of the season.
Senior four-year varsity player Kelli McCarthy said she’d like to see her LW teammates work their hardest this season to compete strong in 3A KingCo and advance into the playoffs.
“Every second counts, especially in a game. Even until the last whistle, you can’t just let a ball go past you — you gotta just give it your all until it’s over,” said forward McCarthy, who fifth-year head coach Ashton Staudacher noted is a fit team leader with a knack for the goal.
Other top returners for LW (10-6-1 last season) are seniors Brianna Daniels (a crafty forward), Justine Nelson (center or outside back) and Taryn Chisholm (center back), the team’s captain. Along with a solid group of juniors, there’s freshmen forwards Waverly Garbes and Abby Nikfard.
Chisholm’s Kang journey has run the gamut from starting on the C team as a freshman, the junior varsity squad as a sophomore, varsity last year and now stepping into the captain’s role as a senior.
“I feel very privileged to be in that (captain) position. I think there’s a lot of good leaders on this team and they’re a lot of really good players,” said Chisholm, adding that team bonding will help them outshine other KingCo squads.
Chisholm’s time as one of LW’s standout relayers during track and field season has prepared her for soccer matches.
“They overlap a ton, not only in skills with running and everything, but also just teamwork and communication is super key in both the relay and in soccer,” she said.
Staudacher noted that one of the Kangs’ themes this year is “Getting Tougher,” and they’re fulling owning it as KingCo play nears.
“The girls have completely taken that upon themselves and they’re actually battling in practice. It’s been super fun and that’s how they’re gonna get better,” the coach said. “I think that’s gonna be something really exciting for us to bring to the KingCo league this year.”