SHORELINE — The Snohomish and Shorecrest girls soccer teams will try to return to the 3A state tournament with young teams this fall.
The Panthers have rebounded after a season-opening loss to Glacier Peak, posting a 3-0-1 record in their next three contests.
The Scots, meanwhile, are going through an adjustment period after losing their best player from a year ago.
But both teams’ coaches have seen marked improvement from their squads in the season’s first few weeks.
“Each game we’re getting stronger,” Snohomish coach April VanAssche said after her team’s 1-0 win over Shorecrest on Thursday at Shoreline Stadium. “Every time out we’re learning different lessons as individuals, and that will help bring the team together. Our goal is to get back to state, but we’re taking it one day at a time (because) our biggest competition is ourselves. We want to try to beat what we did the day before.”
Snohomish (3-1-1) has featured a balanced offensive attack, with eight different players tallying at least one goal or one assist entering Thursday’s contest.
Taylor Khorrami recorded her second goal of the season in the waning seconds of the first half for the game’s only score.
The fate of Snohomish’s season might ultimately rest on the development of its talented sophomore class, which includes goalkeeper Grace Wales, forward Gracie VanAssche, defenders Gracie Winders, Celia Forster and Jenna Schuler, and midfielder Ravyn Mummey.
“We’re lucky because the sophomores have played together at a high level, so they’re used to that experience,” VanAssche said. “But the high school game is different. We’re working on pulling the emotions out of them and getting them to believe in what they are (capable of) doing.”
Shorecrest (0-2-1) is learning how to play without forward Lauren Brown, who scored 26 goals last season.
Brown, an all-state pick in 2016 as a junior and Seattle University commit, left the Scots for Seattle’s Crossfire academy program.
“Whether it’s losing players to academies or graduation or injuries, I’ve got a brand new team this year,” Shorecrest coach Mindy Dalziel said. “I’ve got starters who hadn’t played any varsity minutes. But I like it. It’s such a different feeling. I get to really coach them and build them up. It’s fun for me.”
The Scots have scored just one goal in three games, but Dalziel said she believes her team’s offensive execution is mostly sound, and that goals will start to come.
“We’re still trying to get into our groove,” she said.
“We won’t rely on just one player for offense. In these three games, we’ve improved drastically. The new players are playing with confidence. The girls are buying in to what we’re doing and working for each other.”