Freshmen to add to varsity soccer mix

Claudia Gil-Osorio, left, chases down a ball in a pre-season scrimmage Wednesday. The junior is expected to be strong on offense. - Matt Johnson
Claudia Gil-Osorio, left, chases down a ball in a pre-season scrimmage Wednesday. The junior is expected to be strong on offense.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

It's tough being a senior on the girls varsity soccer team this fall.

Inundated by a huge group of 12 talented freshmen, the South Whidbey Falcons may be one of those rare teams this year that has a fully-integrated front lineup, with players from all four high school classes taking the field.

Knowing that making room for younger players could squeeze them onto the bench or down to the junior varsity team, some of the seniors had to consider the success of the team first.

"I think there are a lot of incoming freshman who can really shoot," said senior Danette Waterman, who was seeking a varsity spot of her own during this week's tryouts. "There are about four of them I would mind taking my spot because they can play."

Waterman knows the Falcons will need the best players they can get if they are to match or improve upon the team's past two years of success. After languishing through the 1990s as a losing program, the Falcons placed third in state in 2000 and made it into the first round of the state playoffs last year after an 11-9 regular season.

Having lost seven seniors, the varsity team must now do a little rebuilding, rebuilding made easier thanks to perhaps the best batch of talent to ever show up for fall tryouts. In addition to veteran seniors Amy Barrow, goalkeeper Kellie Horn, Kim Julius, Melody Sinclair and Danette Waterman, the team will get help from junior Claudia Gil-Osorio -- who took last season off to run cross country -- and premier-level freshman players like Katie Watson, Jenna Wild and Katie Baldwin.

"We have some talented young players," said Falcon coach Paul Arand. "I'm pleased with what I've seen so far."

What Arand cannot see is the future. His team is in what can arguably be called the toughest 2A conference in the state, the North Cascades Conference. Last year's NCC champion, Meridian, placed second in the state tournament, while another NCC team, Sultan, was fourth.

Arand said he does not discount any of the NCC teams, knowing that all of them will give his team a challenge. "It's going to be tough."

Beyond NCC play, Arand said he hopes his team has a strong showing at the district playoff level. The state meet is something he's not talking about right now.

The Falcons start the NCC season Sept. 10 at Meridian.

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