By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
The Jackson girls soccer team is looking to its four captains to lead the way as a number of new players move up to new starting roles.
Senior goalkeeper K.C. Wilson, senior defender Molly McPherson, senior defender Denae Fitz and junior forward Cara Wegner are solid building blocks for the defending Western Conference South Division and Northwest District champions.
“It’s right up the middle where we have a lot of experience,” Jackson coach Michael Bartley said. “It’s nice to have that group. We have a lot of fast talented kids, young and inexperienced. Hopefully, we’ll blend it together.”
So far the Wolfpack are blending it together well as Jackson opened with a 7-0 rout over Mariner in its league opener and then beat Cascade 2-0.
In Bartley’s previous seven years, the Timberwolves have won six league titles, three district crowns and have advanced to the final four at state three times.
“We’re building off of tradition,” Bartley said. “We’ve played at the highest level.”
Wilson shared goaltending duties last year but will be the main starter this year.
“She’s a great shot blocker and she’s a very positive person,” Bartley said. “She instills that in her teammates. She makes all the simple saves and she’ll make a few phenomenal ones. That’s all you can ask for.”
McPherson is the heart and soul of the defense. She brings toughness to the Wolfpack.
“She’s the enforcer,” Bartley said. “She has a look to her. You don’t want to mess around with her.”
Fitz provides much needed leadership and organization for the team. Bartley affectionately describes her as the office manager.
“She’s the one creating all the intrastructure of the kids, making sure they get the communications,” Bartley said. “She’s a dang good player in the middle.”
So far Wegner has provided plenty of offense, scoring both goals against Cascade and having two against Mariner.
“She’s a great striker,” Bartley said. “She also keeps the team a little lighter. She pushes the kids to play better. … She’s pushing them on their skills.”
Wegner has earned first-team, all-league honors every year.
The rest of the supporting cast either came off the bench or did not play very much.
Bartley has been playing close attention at practice and played just about the entire team in Jackson’s season opener against non-league opponent Ferndale, which ended in a 1-1 tie.
“It’s hard to pick which ones should start,” Bartley said. “They all deserve a chance. It’s exciting to have that many new kids.”