By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
EDMONDS — Last year the Edmonds-Woodway girls soccer team’s season ended in disappointing fashion, losing 5-1 to Gig Harbor in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
This season the team set a goal to surpass that accomplishment and early in the season it appears the Warriors on their way to accomplishing that feat.
“We accomplished quite a bit last year and we only graduated two from that team,” Warriors head coach Bill LeCompte said. “So the expectation was kind of come in and pick up where we left off and do our best to win the (4A South), which has been a consistent goal for at least a decade. And then if we can do that, try to get back to where we were and, if anything, try to advance from where we were last year.”
Edmonds-Woodway reeled off seven straight wins to start the season before finally suffering their first defeat at the hands of Snohomish, the first place team in the 4A North, last Thursday by a score of 2-1.
It is the first bump in the road for the Warriors, but this team seems to be well-equipped to weather the storm.
A big reason for that is the emergence of freshman forward Madison Schultz, who has scored 18 goals in the team’s first eight games.
“Adding Madison just adds another piece to the puzzle that helps us kind of do some things differently,” LeCompte said. “She’s enhanced what we’ve been doing.”
It isn’t just Schultz that has put up impressive offensiWith ve statistics. The Warriors have scored 37 goals through eight games, giving them an average of over four per game.
“We like to play a lot of possession, but we’ve got some pretty creative players,” LeCompte said. “They are really starting to figure out how to combine and just kind of have that presence of mind of knowing where this person is supposed to be on the field or in this situation this is where she was last time. So I think some of the success we have seen is coming from that cohesion that we have been working on.”
Midfielder/forward Lindsey Aranda has noticed the chemistry within the offense.
“I think this year we just really clicked a lot,” Aranda said. “All the offensive players, I feel like we had a year together last year and then we added (Madison), so we’ve just been clicking really well.”
On a team heavy with juniors and seniors, Schultz hasn’t had a problem fitting in.
“I knew a bunch of these girls because we at one point had played for the same club,” Schultz said. “So I know a bunch of them. But I really expected to just come in and play and do what I could and see what team I would just be put on.”
Schultz’s impact has even surprised her.
“I have a lot of background with soccer and I have had a lot of success, but no, I never really had an idea for me having this much success.”
While the Warriors offense is getting a lot of the attention, their defense has been equally impressive, allowing four goals in the first eight games.
“I don’t think the defense gets enough credit at all,” Aranda said. “They are just as big of a role as our offense.”
Senior defender Michaela Moren said the defensive side of the team has the same type of chemistry as the offense.
“I think we actually work really well together,” she said. “Everyone is always covering for each other and the midfield is always dropping back and helping us. That’s why we have only given up (four) goals because everyone is always working hard and covering for each other. And we never really get shots taken against us, usually it’s about two shots a game and that’s about it.”
The experience that the Warriors gained last season against Gig Harbor should help them as they go through the season and potentially make a return to the state playoffs.
“I think we went into it not taking it as tough as we should have,” Moren said. “I think we didn’t take them seriously. This year I think what we know our competition is going to be like so we will be more ready. We are way more physical this year than we were last year so I think we will be able to keep up with them because they were pushing us around last year so I think that was our biggest challenge.”
If anything, the loss to Gig Harbor has helped the Warriors to know how much more they will have to do to win at the highest level, something that LeCompte said has helped the team to its fast start.
“I think that’s where a lot of the success we’ve had early on is coming from is that they are working a lot harder because they kind of feel like there is some unfinished things that they would like to try and accomplish while they are here. So it’s definitely been helping drive us in the direction we have been going.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.