Wesco high school girls soccer began a five-week season last week as teams took the field for their first matches in more than 15 months, due to effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The shortened campaign won’t include a postseason, and schedules have been designed to limit travel and create competitive matchups.
Here are some local teams, players and matches to watch throughout the five-week slate:
TEAMS TO WATCH
Lake Stevens: The Vikings are coming off a second-place finish in Wesco 4A and their fourth Class 4A state playoff appearance in five years. Lake Stevens returns five of its seven all-conference players from last season, including three of its four first-teamers. The Vikings allowed just 13 goals in 19 matches last season and earned a 1-0 shutout win over defending Wesco 4A champion Glacier Peak in last week’s season opener.
Glacier Peak: Led by an influx of three high-level club players who joined the team last season, the Grizzlies captured the Wesco 4A title and earned their first state berth since 2010. Glacier Peak returns six of its seven all-conference players, including all four of its first-teamers. University of Washington-bound junior Chloe Seelhoff and sophomore Ryann Reynolds highlight a dynamic attack that averaged a Wesco-best 3.4 goals per match last season.
Snohomish: The Panthers are coming off their second Wesco 3A/2A title in three years and their third 3A state playoff appearance in four years. Snohomish’s high-powered attack netted 52 goals in league play last season, which was 10 more than any of the other 14 teams in Wesco 3A/2A. With a trio of all-conference players returning, the Panthers should continue to be one of the area’s top teams.
Jackson: The perennial powerhouse Timberwolves fell one win short of the 4A state tournament last season, ending a string of six consecutive state appearances. Jackson returns a pair of all-conference players and is led by a new coach, as longtime club and high school coach Terry Ryan takes over for Sarah Smart.
Edmonds-Woodway: The Warriors finished second out of 15 teams in Wesco 3A/2A last season, led by a defense that allowed a league-low six goals in 14 conference matches. However, Edmonds-Woodway fell short of state for just the second time in seven years after losing to league champion Snohomish in a 3A Northwest District Tournament winner-to-state match. The Warriors return a pair of all-conference selections.
Archbishop Murphy: The Wildcats finished third out of 15 teams in Wesco 3A/2A last season, but fell two wins short of the 2A state tournament. Archbishop Murphy has a wealth of experience coming back, with nine returning starters. And with just two seniors on their roster, this shortened season could serve as a springboard for the Wildcats into the fall campaign.
Shorecrest: The Scots return nine starters from last season’s team, which finished fifth out of 15 teams in the tightly packed Wesco 3A/2A. Shorecrest figures to lean on its defense again after allowing the third-fewest goals in league play.
Shorewood: The Thunderbirds return all three of their all-conference selections from last season’s team, which finished sixth out of 15 teams in Wesco 3A/2A. Shorewood is led by junior twin sisters Kaitlyn and Morgan Manalili, who combined for 22 goals last season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jersey Heiss, sr., F, Arlington
Heiss was named The Herald’s player of the year last season after totaling a program-record 30 goals and six assists. She received 3A first-team all-state honors and has signed to play NAIA soccer at Eastern Oregon University.
Jordan Bartlow, sr., MF, Arlington
Bartlow provided 10 goals and a team-high 20 assists last season. She was a 3A second-team all-state selection and also has signed to play at Eastern Oregon University.
Chloe Seelhoff, jr., MF, Glacier Peak
The University of Washington commit netted 16 goals and added a team-high 13 assists last season to help lead the Grizzlies to their first state berth since 2010.
Ryann Reynolds, soph., F, Glacier Peak
As a freshman last season, Reynolds totaled 16 goals and nine assists to help lead the Grizzlies’ high-scoring attack.
Madison Seelhoff, sr., D, Glacier Peak
The University of Montana signee helped anchor a stout defense that allowed just 0.84 goals per match last season.
Kate Sprink, jr., D, Glacier Peak
Sprink played an integral role in the Grizzlies’ stingy defense last season, while also posting two goals and six assists.
Chloe Pattison, jr., F, Lake Stevens
Pattison netted 15 goals and added eight assists last season while helping lead the Vikings to a 4A state playoff berth.
Tayla Peterson, jr., GK, Lake Stevens
Peterson posted 10 shutouts last season for a defense that allowed more than one goal in a match just twice all year.
Bree Nichols, sr., F/MF, Snohomish
Nichols totaled 17 goals and seven assists last season while helping lead the Panthers to the 3A state tournament.
Kaitlyn Manalili, jr., F, Shorewood
Manalili netted a team-high 14 goals last season.
Morgan Manalili, jr., MF, Shorewood
Manalili scored eight goals and provided a team-high 11 assists last season.
Kirsten Crane, soph., MF, Marysville Getchell
As a freshman last season, Crane totaled a team-high 13 goals and three assists to help lead the Chargers to the 3A state tournament.
MATCHES TO WATCH
Lake Stevens vs. Jackson, March 18, 7:30 p.m. at Everett Memorial Stadium
Two of the top Wesco 4A programs square off in their lone meeting this season. These teams have played to draws in three of their last four matchups, including a pair of 1-1 stalemates last season.
Shorewood vs. Shorecrest, March 25, 7 p.m. at Shoreline Stadium
This clash of Shoreline rivals features two teams that finished in the top six of the 15-team Wesco 3A/2A last season. Shorewood is 3-0-2 against Shorecrest over the last three seasons, including a 4-3 win in their 2019 meeting.
Lake Stevens at Snohomish, March 25, 7:30 p.m.
Defending Wesco 3A/2A champion Snohomish faces reigning Wesco 4A runner-up Lake Stevens in a showdown between two teams that reached their respective state tournaments last season. These programs haven’t faced each other since 2015, when they were Wesco 4A rivals.
Snohomish at Glacier Peak, March 29, 7 p.m.
The defending Wesco 4A and Wesco 3A/2A champions square off in a season-finale showdown between two teams that are coming off state tournament appearances. These crosstown rivals have split their last five matchups, which include two wins apiece for each school and a 1-1 draw in last season’s meeting.
Shorecrest at Edmonds-Woodway, March 29, 7:30 p.m.
This season finale is a rematch of Edmonds-Woodway’s 2-1 win over Shorecrest in a loser-out 3A Northwest District Tournament contest last season, when the Warriors scored a late goal to eliminate the Scots. In the teams’ last six meetings, Edmonds-Woodway has four wins by one goal and two draws. Shorecrest is looking for its first win over the Warriors since 2014.