SOC Girls Soccer Glance
COACH: Dick Darcy (eighth year)
LAST YEAR: 9-4-3, 6-1 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 4-2-1
AT A GLANCE: Talent is omnipresent, as usual, at North Medford, where 16 players return from the 2002 team. Major (first team), Seeley (first), Driver (second), Hanson (second), Standifer (second), Nicole Vilarino (second) and Tacha (honorable mention) all earned all-SOC accolades last fall. That total of seven all-league returners is the SOC's highest by two. They want to be SOC champions and to be undefeated in the league, Darcy says of his veteran team. They want (a title) all by themselves. The Black Tornado has shared four of the last five crowns but hasn't been outright SOC champion since 1997. ... The Vilarino twins have each suffered knee injuries in the last two years, but Darcy says the tenacious duo is back to 100 percent as seniors. ... Lawson, only a freshman, has stepped into a starting role in the central midfield, where '02 SOC player-of-the-year Lisa Munyon used to star.
COACH: Cindy Jolly (first year)
LAST YEAR: 13-3-1, 6-1 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 3-2
AT A GLANCE: South Medford lost more all-SOC seniors than any other team in the league, but it still returns 10 players who played consistently last fall. The Panthers mix in seven newcomers this season, led by freshman forward O'Neill, Corey's little sister who is already making a name for herself. Jolly enjoys the youthful infusion. I think sometimes the younger tenaciousness sparks a fire in the whole team, she says. ... Formerly a forward, Corbin has stepped back to the central midfield, where her exceptional playmaking abilities will be on even more of a display. (She) creates so much, Jolly says. I think she brings her varsity basketball skills as a point guard to the game. ... Amber Stevens is one of the SOC's deadliest scorers. I think they're gonna be afraid of Amber Stevens, Jolly says. ... With Quinowski and Steiger in the back, South should be among the conference's stingiest defensively.
COACH: Terry Fretz (fifth year)
LAST YEAR: 9-4-2, 4-3 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 6-0
AT A GLANCE: LaFontaine and Reina form the SOC's best scoring tandem, and their supporting cast has continually improved. Crater returns eight starters in all from a squad that took fourth place to earn the program's first-ever playoff berth last fall. The Comets fell, 3-1 in overtime, to Crescent Valley in subtournament action. Crater expects to build on that this fall. We're shooting for No. 1, Fretz says. We're not even gonna hide that. We really think we can compete with North and South. ... Fretz links the rise of his program with the growth of Central Point's Table Rock Soccer Club. We're to starting to see the benefits, he says. ... Marking fullback Jessica Stoner, honorable mention in 2002, is the Comets' third returning all-SOC performer. ... Before transferring, goalkeeper Adams started for Eagle Point two years ago. ... LaFontaine is drawing interest from collegiate programs. Fretz says his star has learned how to move around in order to ensure touches, even with the opposition's unwavering attention. She will drop back into the midfield on occasion.
COACH: Hector Cruz (eighth year)
LAST YEAR: 6-7-1, 2-5 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 4-0-1
AT A GLANCE: Unlucky doesn't describe Grants Pass' plight a season ago. The Cavers, who finished sixth to break their streak of three straight playoff appearances, lost three shootouts ' to South Medford, Crater and Ashland ' and outshot North Medford in another defeat. You convert those (shootouts) to wins, and hello, Cruz says. Everything came down to a penalty kick. It's tough because the girls dominated the league. It was the saddest thing I've ever seen. ... Despite the loss of Briggs to an ACL tear, Grants Pass still returns five all-SOC performers and 10 total starters. McHan earned first-team accolades at left fullback; Taylor, an attacking central midfielder, was on the second team; defensive central midfielder Lamont, striker Pilcher and right fullback VanBrunt were honorable mention. ... North Valley transfer Allen is sharing time with returning starter Sander in goal. ... Cruz says his Cavers are no longer intimidated by the Medford teams, and they've already proved it with a nonconference win at North.
COACH: Gerrin DeGroot (11th year)
LAST YEAR: 10-6, 6-1 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 1-3
AT A GLANCE: South Medford may have lost more seniors, but Klamath Union was probably hurt the most in the SOC by graduation. Tabbed fourth in the preseason poll a year ago, the Pelicans claimed a share of the conference crown on the strength of a physical style led by seniors Brianna Hackett, Brandy Bocchi and Kali Caleb. Seven seniors departed in all. Last year, we overachieved, says DeGroot, who was voted coach of the year by his peers for the second straight season. We really lost our physical strength, and that was a big factor. Sometimes, big, physical strength can combat some of the skilled players put out by other teams. ... After losing, 1-0, in a playoff with South Medford for the SOC's No. — seed, KU suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Lakeridge in Round — of the '02 state playoffs. ... KU is fueled by four returning all-league performers. Fay ' who will play both sweeper and central midfield and is the Pelicans' big impact player, according to DeGroot ' was a first-team pick. Edwards and Taylor were on the second team, while McDonnell was honorable mention. ... KU has missed the playoffs just twice in DeGroot's 10 full years. ... Overall, Southern Oregon soccer is still a step behind the Portland and Eugene areas, DeGroot says.
COACH: Bryce Martin (11th year)
LAST YEAR: 4-9-1, 1-6 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 2-4
AT A GLANCE: Roseburg returns eight starters from what Martin calls the youngest team I've ever had. With just two seniors on his roster this year, he says this team is probably the second youngest. ... Godard and Groshong were second-team all-SOC selections last fall. (Groshong) is the most physical girl I've ever coached, Martin says. She's an animal. Of Godard, the 2002 team's leading scorer, Martin says, She's just a great dribbler, a great penetrator and can create things for herself. Both play on a Eugene club team in the winter. ... Freshman Piper hasn't played yet this season after breaking her foot the week before practice started, but Martin expects her to be a scoring threat and take some pressure off Godard up front. Dorius is a second freshman starter. ... Martin says the Indians' 2-4 record is misleading. We just haven't had the breaks so far, he says. We've outshot almost everybody we've played. ... Playing Ashland, Klamath Union and Eagle Point to open their SOC slate, the Indians know they need early victories. We feel like we have to win those three games, Martin says. And then we have four shots to win one.
COACH: Eric Wolff (second year)
LAST YEAR: 5-5-2, 3-4 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 3-2-1
AT A GLANCE: Starting five freshmen didn't stop Ashland from winning three SOC matches in 2002. With 10 starters returning, the Grizzlies are gunning for more this fall. We lost only two players from last year, says Wolff, who coached the St. Mary's boys team from 1997-2001. This year, everybody's stronger, and everybody knows more about the game. We're the same team as last year, except better. Most teams lost players, but we don't have any voids to fill. We should definitely be able to challenge. And the sense I get is that they feel like they can and deserve to be in the playoffs. Of course, we still have to do it. ... Central fullback Newton (second team) and forward Rose-Merkle (honorable mention) were Ashland's only all-SOC selections last fall. Golling joins Newton to solidify the central defense, and Roupp teams with Rose-Merkle up front. VanAusdal and Cowger are the midfield's standouts. ... Inconsistency has plagued the Grizzlies early in the season. We have to step it up and play more focused for 80 minutes, Wolff says.
COACH: Tim Sweeney (eighth year)
LAST YEAR: 1-10-3, 0-7 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 2-1-1
Lindsey Jolliffe MFSo.
Sheyanne Bier FJr.
Carolyn Rotar FBFr.
AT A GLANCE: Eagle Point equals North Medford, Grants Pass and Ashland for the league-high with 10 returning starters. But with a 1-20 SOC record during the past three seasons, not much is expected of the Eagles by conference foes. Still, Sweeney says the program is improving. This will be far and away the most experienced and most talented team we've had at Eagle Point, from No. — to No. 15 (on the roster), says Sweeney, who is also coaching the Eagle boys. Unfortunately, this is the best the league has been in a little while. It may not translate into the number of wins we want. ... Goslin, a first-team all-SOC standout as a junior, will again lead the way. She is the catalyst on offense and has a lot of fire and passion, Sweeney says. ... EP started six freshmen in 2002 and has eight sophomores total this fall. That youth may make for inconsistencies, but the promise has Sweeney real excited. ... The Eagles are trying to install a South Medford-like passing game.