Mountainside girls soccer makes most of season with seniors
High school sports are in full swing, and Mountainside High School's girls varsity soccer team is making the most out of an unprecedented season packed with senior players.
Out of 21 players on the roster, 13 of them are playing their final season ever as Mavericks.
Mountainside varsity girls soccer head coach Travis Schoonover says the girls have adapted to the changes with the coronavirus pandemic and are ready to end the season on a high note.
"So far, so good. I mean, we got started off fairly slowly, considering we weren't as clean on the ball as we might be, because a lot of the kids have been off during COVID-19," said Schoonover. "We still had quite a few of our kids that played club soccer and were still doing club stuff, but I don't think they were playing very many games."
Mountainside did a good job communicating with staff and students prior to the season starting, so it wasn't too bad getting back in rhythm, Schoonover added.
As for Schoonover's senior players, he says it was important to have a season and celebrate their accomplishments despite COVID-19.
"Even though it's during the spring and not in the fall, it's important for them to be able to do that," he said. "Especially because they're the freshmen class that opened up the school for us as well. So, it's a first for a four-year graduating class."
Mountainside High School on Southwest 175th Avenue in Beaverton first opened its doors in 2017. When it opened that year, it only had freshmen and sophomores, expanding to juniors in 2018 and seniors in 2019. Last year was the first in which Mountainside had a full graduating class.
Schoonover says returning players Izzie Carrington and Stella Bauman, who were first-team All-Metro League performers last season, have been very important for this year as well.
"We actually moved Stella," Schoonover said, noting she was previously a forward. "She's now playing on the back, so she's one of our starting defenders and has done really well for us."
Having Bauman in the backcourt has helped to "solidify" the Mavericks' defense, Schoonover explained.
Other standout players this season include junior midfielder Emma Rogers. She struggled last year with a torn ACL but now "runs the show" for the team, in Schoonover's words. Rogers opens up the field for other players and leads the team in assists, and her coach says she is on her way in leading in goals as well.
As for younger players, Schoonover says that freshman midfielder Claire Oetker is coming off the bench in a big way. Oetker is the only freshman on varsity.
"She's a real skillful kid," he noted. "She's small right now, but once she gets a bit more experienced and stuff, she'll be a big contributor to the team. I expect some big things from her next year as a sophomore."
Senior goalkeeper Presley Gauthier is enjoying her season as a senior while lending some helpful advice to the younger players on the team.
"Just giving them advice on not necessarily soccer but their social aspect of playing high school," Gauthier said. "Most of us play club ball, but high school is an opportunity to just kind of have fun and let loose and enjoy what we're doing and not have it be so stressful."
Gauthier hopes to leave a fun atmosphere behind as she reflects on her time playing at Mountainside.
She remembers kicking the ball around with Bauman and Carrington since she was 12 and is excited to end her high school soccer career with them by her side.
"We've kind of grown up together and developed together," Gauthier said. "(Bauman) has done an incredible job because it's really hard going from such polar opposite positions in such a short amount of time."
With undefeated Jesuit High School coming up on the schedule, Gauthier interprets the match up as a kind of de facto championship game, considering there is no postseason this year due to COVID-19. The Mavericks lost to the Crusaders last year in the state final.
"Jesuit has always kind of been a championship game for us like even in regular season. It didn't have to be playoffs," she said. "We always just looked at Jesuit as a strong competitor, we always know we're going to have to bring our 'A game' and work as hard as we can from the first whistle to the last whistle."
So far this season, Jesuit has not allowed a single goal from a competitor hit the scoreboard. When asked if that stat is on Schoonover's radar, he said not so much, but he knows that the game will be an important one for the team.
The Mavericks will take on the Crusaders at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1, at Jesuit High School.
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