•Last year’s North state champions lost many key players but are looking to keep the Reed reputation intact. Reed lost eight players off last year’s varsity team and now battles the challenges of inexperience this season.
You can expect that this season is going to be about a marathon not a sprint,” Reed coach Jason Saville said. We’re going to be building the pieces slowly. We’re getting out of the gates a little slow but we hope we can get the pieces where they need to be toward the end of the season.”
Saville said the team will be working hard and taking things game by game.
“They’ve got to click,” Savile said. “It’s not going to happen right away.”
Of the 18 girls on the Reed roster, only seven are returning from last season. While losing some fierce competitors from last season, Saville said that some of his newcomers have stepped up for the Raiders.
“Some new kids have tried to fill those leadership spots and are doing a good job,” he said. “It’s always taken a team effort to win the titles that we did win.”
While inexperience could be the Raiders biggest challenge this season, Saville said he thinks his team could be ready when it counts.
“Right now they don’t compare because they haven’t done anything yet.” Saville said. “In terms of talent I think they’re as talented, maybe not as experienced as teams have been in the past. It’s not about the first three games of the season, it’s about the last three. It really doesn’t matter as long as we can get in the playoffs. Then we have three games to try and do something special.”
Saville added that he believes a good attitude will help Reed on its way to success.
The Raiders play today at Bishop Manogue High School.
Spanish Springs Cougars
•The Cougars lost quite a few players from a year ago but that hasn’t fazed coach Mike Faker. Spanish Springs saw some girls not return this year for various reasons as well as five seniors graduate, including last year’s star, Carly Pengelly.
“They (opponents) were kind of focused on her,” Faker said. “This year we don’t necessarily have a player to focus on. We don’t have a big name or a star. It’s kind of a whole team kind of thing and I’m looking forward to it. In the past, if a team was able to shut her down or she had a bad day, we had a bad day.”
In fact, even with the loss of Pengelly, Faker thinks that this year could be the year.
“This year’s team is going to be really solid from top to bottom,” Faker said. “It’s going to be really deep. It’s the first time we’ve been that deep.”
Faker expects his team to make the playoffs and wants to improve on the results from the last two seasons. Two years ago, the Cougars finished in fourth place in the HDL and they were third last year.
“At the moment, the girls seem to be getting along pretty good and coming together as a team,” Faker said. “They’re just focusing on the business at hand. They show up and play for the day.
“We’ve had a good preseason so far, we’re not as fit as I’d like us to be because we haven’t worked on fitness as much as we had in the past … They just want to pass the ball.”
Passing and possession have been two things that have changed in the Cougars game plan. Faker feels with the personnel his squad will have this season, it will have the ability to pass the ball, possess and slow down the tempo of the game.
“Last year was quicker, and direct and it was indirect before,” Faker said. “Last year we changed that, this year with the personnel we have, we’re going to play more indirect, more possession and not going straight to goal all the time.”
Spanish Springs will play today at Wooster and starts league play next week, starting with Reno.
“I think from top to bottom this is the most talented team we’ve had,” Faker said. “If the coaching staff does everything right, and the players do their part, we’ll be a better team than last year.”
•Of all the high schools, Sparks suffered the largest losses, in sheer quantity, losing 13 girls, most to ineligibility according to coach Jerry Miller.
Sparks has a very young team this season with only four seniors. Miller described the season as a rebuilding year for Sparks, with some freshmen having to step up to varsity this year.
“We’ll still be a competitive team, but realistically if we had those 13 back, it could’ve been the first time we made playoffs in a long time,” Miller said.
Miller mentioned returner Jessica Mendoza, who will fill in the midfield for Sparks. Nora Valenzuela will return as a senior in the goal for Sparks and Miller predicts sophomore Deanae Soto will be strong for the Railroaders this year.
“As far as an offensive team, we’re going to get a lot more shots on goal and be much more exciting on top,” Miller said. “Our defense is going to be pretty solid.
“As far as goals, we always try to improve on what we did last year and our main goal is that we try to always be competitive and we never quit. And as long as we don’t quit, and they play with heart, we’re OK.”