Girls’ soccer has high hopes after strong preseason

January 7, 2011 — by Olivia Chock and Tim Rollinson

The girls’ soccer team has high expectations to live up to after making CCS last season, their first qualification for sectionals after seven years. With the departure of key seniors Sara Guy, Sam Li and Jordan Leonard, this years squad had their work cut out for them. Posting a 2-1 record in the preseason, the team has done well to build off of last year’s success.

“We play the hardest teams in preseason,” junior forward Courtney Brandt said. “So it is a good sign that we did well.”

In the final game of the preseason on Dec. 10, the girls beat Westmont 4-1 at home. Goals were scored by juniors Kari Clark and Sneha Shivkumar and freshmen Stephanie Ho and Lindsey Webster. With Westmont’s reputation as a strong team, Saratoga’s margin of victory was a pleasant surprise heading into the season.

An even better sign was the team’s 4-1 win against Wilcox on Jan. 5. The girls came out strong in the first half with junior Sneha Shivkumar, who pulled off a hat trick in the first 11 minutes, bringing the score 3-0. Brandt scored a point off a cross from sophomore Amanda Schwartz. Wilcox pulled through and managed a goal in the second half, ending the game 4-1.

“We’re off to a great start, and hopefully we can keep it up the rest of the season,” said Brandt.

Under new head coach Molly Flannigan, the team has found a new groove. Help from the other soccer coaches like boys’ varsity coach Adam Clarke, boys’ Frosh-Soph coach Michael Patrick and JV girls coach Javier Barbosa has also proven to be a valuable asset to the development of the team.

“The nice thing about the new coaching system this year is there’s always at least one or two coaches we can go to,” said senior co-captain Laura Mighdoll. “We got to know them all really well.”

The easy access to coaching has not only helped the girls to be competitive in games, but it has also resulted in more disciplined practices. Brandt said practices feel more like high-level club sessions than high school practices because of the competitiveness and determination that the girls have shown this year.

“I’m really excited for the rest of the season. Our coaches are great and all the girls work really hard,” she said.

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