Clackamas returns 10 experienced players from last years squad that made the Class 6A girls soccer final

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Clackamas returns eight starters from last years girls soccer team that advanced to the state final, including Riley Mitchell (3) and Holly Hunt (12), pictured playing Thurston for the 2012 state title.With most of their players returning from last year’s team that made school history, Clackamas High School’s girls soccer team is the odds-on favorite to finish atop the Three Rivers League this fall.

The Cavaliers return 11 varsity letter winners from last year’s varsity and 10 of them either started or saw a considerable amount of playing time last season.

Still, repeating what the Cavaliers did in last year’s state playoffs may be tough to do. Clackamas a year ago made school history, advancing to the state final for the first time ever.

Only four players graduated from last year’s state playoff roster — Sam Moultrie, Claudia Flores, Tori Roberts and Summer Mohr.

Moultrie (midfield/forward) and Flores (forward) were TRL all-star selections last fall, and it’s clear that the Cavaliers miss their contributions. Clackamas has had a tough early preseason schedule — facing 2013 playoff teams in their first three games, and going 0-3, with losses to Beaverton (1-0), Tigard (1-0) and Southridge (1-0).

Asked if the early losses were of concern, Clackamas coach Aimee Mansoor said, “Not really. It’s preseason. We’ll learn from the losses and continue to improve. Obviously, we don’t like to lose, but we’re keeping the bigger picture in mind, and keeping things in perspective.”

Asked if the Cavaliers have the potential to reach the state final again this fall, Mansoor said, “Definitely! Absolutely! The girls have been working hard. They’re competitors and they’re resilient. They’ll improve and get better as the season goes along.”

The Cavaliers should have a good chance of regaining the Three Rivers League title, which eluded them last year, after winning titles in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. Defending TRL champion Lakeridge, which lost to Clackamas in last year’s semifinals, and Canby, which made the quarterfinals last year, have both graduated a number of their top players.

Five players who received TRL all-star recognition last year return to lead the charge for Clackamas this fall: seniors Courtney Cox (midfield) and Kaitlyn Reiner (defense), and juniors Cassie Haehlen (forward), Riley Mitchell (defense) and Jade Haehlen (goalkeeper).

Cassie Haehlen and Mitchell were first-team all-league selections as sophomores and Cassie was the Cavaliers’ leading scorer in 2012.

This year’s team is still young, with returning midfielder Holly Hunt the only other senior on the team besides Cox and Reiner.

Other returning lettermen include: juniors Erika Shaw (defense), Sarah Jones (midfield), Yasmeen Ramos (midfield) and Alli Dickey (defense/midfield); and sophomore Alaina Edgerly (forward).

There are three freshmen who could figure in the mix this year — Amanda Grimshaw (forward), Alexandra Mahler (midfield) and Teri Walters (goalkeeper).

Rounding out Clackamas’ varsity roster are: juniors Chantel Lusby (defense), Katya McKenzie (midfield/forward), Ally Bushman (midfield/defense), Nadine Shaw (goalkeeper) and Amanda Zehr (defense).

The Cavaliers, who finished a close second to Lakeridge in the TRL last year, were to begin league competition on Tuesday (Sept. 17), hosting Canby. They play Lakeridge on the road this Thursday, and they entertain Lake Oswego next Tuesday.

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