If healthy, Tualatin could step up big in 2019
For the Tualatin High School girls soccer team, there seems to be one key — one very big key — for the upcoming season.
The Timberwolves need to stay healthy.
After a 2018 season that saw the Tualatin squad plagued by injury and illness, the Wolves are looking forward to a successful, and healthy, 2019 campaign.
"We're excited," Tualatin coach KalÉ Dwight said. "After the season two years ago (when the Wolves reached the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs, before losing in overtime to eventual champion Jesuit), we were excited. But, last year, we were hit by every injury and sickness there was. This year, we want to stay injury-free and healthy."
If Tualatin can do that, Dwight says, then big things could be ahead for the Wolves.
"We're a one-game-at-a-time team, but, the goal for us is to win league, and then make it to the final game," Dwight said.
Tualatin looks to have a big, and strong, group of returnees from last year's squad that finished in a tie for fifth place in the Three Rivers League at 2-3-2, while going 9-5-2 on the season and reaching the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
Among the returnees are senior goalkeeper Sarah Hall, senior midfielder Abby Borg and senior defender Aden Lynch, who will serve as the team's captains.
"We've got great leadership with our captains," Dwight said. "All three of them are vocal, and they are natural leaders."
Last year, Borg was a first-team all-Three Rivers League selection, while Hall was an honorable mention pick.
Tualatin also returns three other seniors in defender Darci Chamberlin, who was an honorable-mention all-league pick a year ago, forward Hannah Olson and forward Taylor Morgan.
"The other three seniors are also good leaders," Dwight said. "This senior class is one of my favorites. The juniors are also fantastic. This is a wonderful group. They're all smart and they work hard."
Hall, Lynch, who will play at left back, and Chamberlin, who will play at right back, should anchor the Tualatin defense this year.
Borg will be the Wolves' attacking midfielder. Up front, Tualatin will be led by high-scoring junior forward Cally Togiai, who was a first-team all-Three Rivers League pick last year.
"All of the other starting spots are open," Dwight said.
Mya Loudd, one of five freshman on the Tualatin varsity roster, will likely start at center back.
"She's tall, fast, smart and skilled," Dwight said.
A big group of returnees, including sophomore Brook Burke, Morgan, Olson, Alyssa Embree and junior Maile Johnson could all see action at forward.
Junior Dayanara Quiterio could play at a center back spot.
Joining Borg in the midfield is a group that includes freshman Mackenzie Mathis, freshman Avery Porter, junior Payton Wesson, sophomore Paige Olson and junior Lauren Oliva.
"It will be interesting to see who fights for those spots," Dwight said.
Other players on the Tualatin varsity roster include sophomore goalkeeper Cate Van Valin and freshman defender Lydia Magnuson.
"If we can stay healthy, it can be a really exciting year," Dwight said.
As for the Three Rivers League, which sent all eight teams to the playoffs last year, competition looks to be strong again.
"It's such a strong league," Dwight said. "Even the weaker teams are really good, and that's cool. It's hard to say who the favorite is. (Defending champ) West Linn is good. You have to be weary of the winners. St. Mary's coach is fantastic, and Tigard's coach is awesome."
And, of course, there's Tualatin.
"If we stay healthy, we can be at the top," Dwight said.
Tualatin will open its season on Sept. 12, when it hosts Sherwood in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m.
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