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Girls soccer fights for state championship

Despite a season characterized by injuries, new players and substantial competition, the girls soccer team procured Inglemoor’s first-ever 4A KingCo soccer title and is advancing in the 2019 Girls Soccer State Championships.
Junior Paris Moore and senior Katelyn Laccinole embrace former player Kendal Bentler after win against Issaquah on Sat. Oct. 5. Photo by Mia Tavares

Despite a season characterized by injuries, new players and substantial competition, the girls soccer team procured Inglemoor’s first-ever 4A KingCo soccer title and is advancing in the 2019 Girls Soccer State Championships. After achieving a district record of 8 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie, the team went on to Union High School on Nov. 16.

“Our game against Union was initially a tough battle, but after the first ten minutes, we were able to get past the past pre-game anxieties and settle the ball,” senior captain Kaycie Suzuki said. “Once we focused on keeping possession of the ball, we maintained an aggressive front with smart defense and had lots of opportunities to score, which, eventually, Ashly [Berge] was able to do.”

After a 3-3-3 record from their 2018 season, the team and the coach
Kent Nelke made considerable strides toward improving the quality and effectiveness of their practices and team-bonding activities.

“Coach Nelke adjusts our practices each week to help the team prepare for our next opponent, so we always step on the field prepared to play our best,” junior Tara Barlowe said. “Throughout the season, the team has also gotten closer off the field, which I believe, has allowed us to bond on the field and play to the best of our ability.”

Throughout the season, the team has been credited with sev-
eral wins and awards, including the 4A KingCo Girls Soccer Coach
of the Year award for Nelke.

“[Coach Nelke] has really worked with us to improve the quality of our practices, and he’s
been a true asset to the team. We all work hard on the field to play smart and endure long games, but his strategic planning and support is the reason why we’re able to execute so many wins,” Suzuki said.

As well as progressively improving as a unit, the team has some of the best players in the district. Each year, KingCo awards the strongest players with various titles. Junior Ashly Berge was distinguished as the Offensive MVP for the 4A KingCo bracket with nine goals, two assists and six game-winning goals during the regular season.

“It was genuinely an honor to have gotten that recognition and
to be named the Offensive MVP and 1st team. I wouldn’t have been able to score those goals or even do half of it without my team- mates though; we all play for each other, which is great to be a part of,” Berge said. “We all try to make each other the best players we can all be and just play as one.”

Along with Berge, several other members on the team received
titles for their playing. Senior captains Maya Oleynikova and Katelyn Laccinole received the title of Second Team All-League; sophomore Julia Monson, juniors Julianna Barker and Paris Moore and senior Rachel Conchi received the title of First Team All-League; Juniors Tara Barlowe, Eden Iyall and Joie Christensen and senior Teonni Gonzales received honorable mentions.

“It feels good to know that the skills and talents of our team were noticed and appreci- ated by other coaches and teams in the district,” Barlowe said.

Throughout the season, the team placed a focus on improving their strategic approaches to each individual game, and they are continuing this tactic for their upcoming game. The team will play their semi-finals game against Auburn Riverside at 6 p.m. on Nov. 22 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

“We definitely spend some time looking at each individual team and looking at how they play and positioning and their strongest players. I think more than anything, this weekend will just be a matter of keeping focus on the task at hand and just training and practicing exactly how we’ve been doing this season. It’ll be a good game; I know it,” Oleynikova said.

The team’s successes have motivated them to work hard to continue progressing through the state tournament.

“At the beginning of the season, we all knew we had potential to do something big. We worked hard to get here and this is what we’ve been playing for so we’re excited to keep working and to go out and compete. We do what we have to do,” Berge said. “I believe that’s what got us to where we are now.”

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About the Contributor
Divya Akkiraju
Divya Akkiraju, Co-Business Manager
Junior Divya Akkiraju is the Co-Business Manager of Nordic News for the 2019-2020 school year. She hopes to reflect on Inglemoor’s entrepreneurial spirit through writing, interviewing and exploring for Nordic News. She also hopes to use journalism as a learning tool to mature her communication and marketing skills in order to benefit her own growth within the business field. Outside of Nordic News and following the IB Diploma pathway, she is exploring the concept of entrepreneurship through real-world experience. She manages her own start-up companies, has helped initiate local non-profits, has started clubs at her school, and gets involved with others’ companies through interning. She is also passionate about progressing her growth as a beach volleyball player.

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Girls soccer fights for state championship