Sports

Olympic girls soccer eyes return to state

South Kitsap forward Miranda Ness vies for a ball with Olympic defender Gabby Tyner during the Wolves 1-0 nonleague win Tuesday at Silverdale Stadium. - Chris Chancellor/staff photo
South Kitsap forward Miranda Ness vies for a ball with Olympic defender Gabby Tyner during the Wolves 1-0 nonleague win Tuesday at Silverdale Stadium.
— image credit: Chris Chancellor/staff photo

Absent its top two offensive threats from a 2008 squad that advanced to the state quarterfinals, the Olympic girls soccer team will shift its approach on offense as it looks for a return trip in 2009.

Gone are speedy forwards Ali Brown and Audrey Pond, the team’s leading scorers last season, but returning are Monica Lopez and Anndrea O’Leary, both of whom figure to carry the Lady Trojans’ offensive load along with varsity newcomers Megan Smith and Micaylla O’Leary, Anndrea’s freshman sister.

“I think we lack the speed that we had last year,” said coach Steve Haggery, who enters his 29th season. “Technically we might be a little bit better, but we need a little more time to execute.”

For the Lady Trojans to be successful, Haggerty said, they will need to control the ball with accurate passing and good communication. Whereas last year’s team took advantage of open space, sending balls deep into the opposition’s territory for players such as Brown and Pond to track down, the 2009 team will be more methodical, at least on the offensive end.

“You need to be able to move the ball,” Haggerty said of compensating for speed. “We need to be able to control the ball, hold onto the ball and see runs. We need to open up space by moving the ball rather than putting the ball in open space and tracking it down. So that’s what we’re gonna have to do.”

Key contributors to a 2008 Lady Trojans team that advanced to the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history, it will be Lopez and Anndrea O’Leary who anchor Oly up front. The duo accounted for the team’s lone goal in a season-opening 1-0 victory over Peninsula Sept. 8, with O’Leary assisting Lopez in the 55th minute.

The emergence of Micaylla O’Leary and Megan Smith, however, have given Haggerty additional scoring and creating threats.

“That’s a pretty nice core in the center and all four are interchangeable,” Haggerty said. “Hopefully we can move the ball and create space that way.”

All-league goalkeeper Darrien Dorr returns and figures to give Oly consistency in the net. She logged shutouts in the each of the team’s first two games, both victories, before allowing a goal in a 1-0 loss to South Kitsap Tuesday.

Dorr will get support in the form of defenders Jalyn Halstead and Gabby Tyner, a freshman who Haggerty said compliments Halstead, as well as Breanna Yocum, a junior. Lauren Brewer, a midfielder, also will see increased action.

“I’m looking for them to make big-time contributions,” Haggerty said.

Haggerty put together a difficult non-league schedule — South Kitsap, Central Kitsap, Lakes and Peninsula — to prepare his team for what should be a competitive Olympic League, which includes 3A schools North Kitsap and Bremerton, both of which Haggerty said have improved.

“I think if we can compete against South Kitsap, then we should be fairly competitive in the Olympic League and then we’ll see what happens,” he said. “Our goal is obviously to return to the playoffs, but I think the league is going to be a lot more competitive.”

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