Girls’ soccer: Team must fill the defensive line to be successful again this season

November 22, 2019 — by Shama Gupta and Esther Luan

Head coach: Ben Maxwell

2018-2019 season record: 4-3-4

2018-2019 season recap: The team advanced to the first round of CCS. 

Key Additions: freshman forward/midfielder Gabby Golko, junior midfielder Jasmin Reddy

Key Matchups: Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Gatos
Star Players: seniors forward Ananya Krishnan and goalie Adrienne Chan 

Key Losses: alum center defender Sasha Pickard and forward Jennah Al-Eshwami, junior center defender Michelle Lim 

League: De Anza Division

Prognosis:  

Coming off a successful 2018-19 season, the team’s head coach Ben Maxwell and senior striker Ananya Krishnan look to replicate the focused, committed and driven environment that the team thrived off of last season. After losing both of their center defenders (2019 alumna Sasha Pickard to graduation and junior Michelle Lim to club team commitments), the team’s biggest challenge this season will be to maintain a strong defensive line. 

“We don’t have any center backs right now, which is a challenge,” four-year varsity striker Krishnan said. “We’re definitely looking for defenders at tryouts this year.”   

The team had 43 players try out this year — a number far larger than the past few years, but still fewer than the other schools in the De Anza Division. While the players are mostly freshmen and sophomores, the large numbers may allow for larger reserves on both the JV and varsity level. In previous years, the small rosters have limited varsity to only have three to four substitutes at a time, compared to schools like Los Gatos, who had nearly 11 substitutes on some of their previous teams. 

 “We didn’t have a huge roster last year, but what worked for us was having a group of girls that were willing to work hard and push themselves no matter who we played,” Krishnan said. “We used the same mentality in a game whether we played Fremont or Mountain View, so we’re looking to get a similar group of girls that want to outwork every other person on the field”. 

Although the team will have to overcome the odds to qualify for CCS again, they will not rule out the possibility — the girls proved themselves and the community wrong last year and still hope to defy expectations again. 

Their first game will be in a pre-season tournament called the Firebird Classic, where they will play teams outside of the De Anza League. Their first league game is at home on Dec. 10 against Christopher High School. 

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