While the Indians graduated 11 seniors after last season, that doesn't deter them from having big goals this year, including a state title

PIONEER FILE PHOTO - Molalla junior Mattie Myers (middle) fights for the ball against a Gladstone defender last season.

Head coach: Nina Wegner, second season

2016 record: 15-2 overall, 9-1 Tri-Valley play

Three-year record: 41-5-3 overall, 26-2-3 Tri-Valley play

Last playoff appearance: 2016, lost to state runner-up Valley Catholic 2-1 in the semifinals, marking back-to-back semifinal appearances by the Indians

Key departures: Desirae DesRosiers (First Team All-State, Tri-Valley Player of the Year, First Team All-League), Chase Rome (Second Team All-State, First Team All-League), Meagan Routley (Second Team All-League), Kaitlyn Burke (Second Team All-League), Rachel Norgren (Honorable Mention All-League), Juliann Jones (Honorable Mention All-League)

Players to watch: Junior Mattie Myers (First Team All-League), senior Sierra Cox (Second Team All-League), senior goalkeeper Alicia Schultz (Second Team All-League), senior Amanda Seward, senior Hannah Rae, sophomore Maddy Lisac

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS - Molalla sophomore Maddy Lisac maneuvers past a Crook County defender during a home game last season.

Season outlook: The Indians graduated 11 seniors after last season, including All-State players Desirae DesRosiers and Chase Rome, so they will have some work to do getting their offensive firepower up to speed.

They return a number of All-League players from last season, however, including junior Mattie Myers and seniors Alicia Schultz and Sierra Cox, so they'll have their weapons on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, especially with Schultz guarding the goal, who allowed just seven goals all season, the lowest of any 4A team in the state.

Molalla will also see the return of senior Amanda Seward, who spent last year playing club soccer, along with senior Hannah Rae, a transfer from Lakeridge High School.

"[Seward] is one freaking awesome soccer player … these girls are unstoppable together," Wegner said.

Wegner also expects to see sophomore Maddy Lisac and junior Emma Andrews shine this season, as they both gained solid varsity experience last year that included time in big playoff games.

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS - Molalla senior Sierra Cox looks towards the goal during their home game against Estacada last season.

The Indians will have to focus on their defensive efforts as they lost the majority of their defenders to graduation, but Wegner isn't worried about it.

"My defense is a totally new group of girls, but with Alicia instructing them, I feel very confident going into this season," she said.

"Each year is very exciting for me because we get to look at the talent we have and figure out what dynamic will work best," Wegner said. "I have so many options for each position, and that is something that I didn't really have last year. Many of my players are so versatile, and can play anywhere that I put them."

Any successful program will note that it takes everyone buying into the same goals in order to be successful. Wegner said they are all certainly on the same page, as they aim to win league and get to the state championship game.

"There is no reason we couldn't win it this year, especially with the group of girls that we have," she said.

"These girls know what it takes to get to the semifinals … they know how to be good leaders and how to set an example for their team," she said as she referred to Schultz, Cox, and Seward.

"No matter what happens this season, the girls are looking forward to growing as a team, having fun, and doing the best we can this season," Wegner said.

First game: The Indians begin their season at Sisters on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m., and will have their home opener on Sept. 5 at 6 p.m. against North Marion. They'll begin league play on Sept. 19 against Madras at home at 4 p.m.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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