By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
Blessing or curse?
This year, the Brookings-Harbor High School girls' soccer team is hoping to use youth to its advantage.
With a number of talented young freshmen entering the program, the Bruins are hoping to team them with their seasoned veterans for a deadly combination of youth and experience.
"We have a ton of experience, but we're young as well," second year head coach Paul Angove said. "If the young players can play up to the level they're capable of, then it'll be a special year."
The Bruins finished up the 2006 season at 7-5-3, fourth in Special District 3, and missed the playoffs by just one game.
This year's Bruins will try and improve on last year's mark, with the ultimate goal being a league championship.
"Our goal is to win league," senior Jessie Goergen said. "Coach Angove has incorporated a more complex system this year and we're going to be a better team because of it."
Several key members of this year's squad have been working all summer long, getting to know each other and building stamina for the season.
"These kids have put in a ton of work this summer and it makes the starting point for practice a lot further along," Angove said. "Everyone really gets along well and it makes it easier to be around them, coach them and win when you have an attitude of respect toward your coach, team and opponents."
Senior Ellen Stadelman will lead the Bruins between the pipes this season.
Stadelman started every game in goal as a junior last year and is an intelligent player who knows her position.
"Our defense is going to be key this year," Stadelman said. "If our defense is good, then the ball will stay up with the offense and give them more chances to score."
Protecting Stadelman will be versatile senior Brooke Blofsky.
Last season, Blofsky, a Special District 3 honorable mention selection, spent most of her time at midfield and forward, tallying five goals.
Blofsky is a hard-working defender who will help lead the young Bruins on the back line.
Sophomore Monica Mitchell, who started every game as a freshman at midfield, will play defense for the Bruins if she can stay healthy.
Mitchell has been fighting through a knee injury this summer and it is still unknown whether she will be able to play or not.
Joining Blofsky on the backline will also be junior Lizeth Ochoa and freshmen Ciara Freeman and Jillian McCool.
The versatile McCool may see playing time at defense, midfield and forward throughout the year.
The Bruins have a talented midfield this year, led by Goergen.
As a first team Special District 3 selection last season, Goergen led the Bruins at forward with 20 goals on the year.
But Goergen will be moving back to an attacking midfield position this year.
"Jessie is the most talented girl on the team and I wanted to find a way to get her more involved in the game," Angove said. "She'll help us win the midfield and that's where games are won."
Goergen will be accompanied by the extremely athletic senior Kara Miller and the tenacious junior Molly Moncrief.
Miller will give the Bruins a significant height advantage in certain situations such as corner kicks.
Moncrief, a second team All-League selection last year, will bring experience into the midfield along with good ball control and vision.
The Bruins have a young and inexperienced front line this year, with sophomore Sonia Gonzales being the only returner from last year's squad.
As a freshman, Gonzales tied for second on the team with five goals last season.
Gonzales will get help from talented freshman Ashley Juarez.
"Ashley is a really talented lefty who's quick, athletic and physical," Angove said.
The front line will also get help from speedsters junior Kayla Hamm and freshman Ally Manley.
Bruins vs. Coquille
The first test for the Bruins will be a home game against the Coquille Red Devils on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 4:30 p.m.