SHORELINE — When’s King’s High School decided to add sports last year, boys and girls soccer rose to the top of the list.
It looks like a strong choice so far.
The girls soccer program began with a bang, beating Bellevue Christian and defending 1A state champion Seattle Academy to start its season.
“Everybody who went out on the field gave everything,” said head coach Nicole Gabelein, a 1992 King’s graduate who played for Cascade (Everett) and starred at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It just brought everybody up another notch. We put a lot of emphasis on working for each other and playing all out. They exhibited that.”
The Knights are young with as many as six freshmen in the starting lineup.
“We’re very, very young,” Gabelein said. “You never know what to expect when you’re young.”
Still the Knights, a 1A school, have players with varsity experience at larger classification schools.
Junior Lauren Thompson, a center midfielder, played for Meadowdale last year and has demonstrated that she will be a scoring threat. Senior forward Laura Gifford came from Meadowdale and senior center defender Laura Peterson played for Inglemoor.
Freshman Hillary Zevenbergen is the other forward. Sophomore Kendal Thoreson is a center midfielder and junior Rebeka Lampe is on the outside as is freshman Hillary Quinn.
Freshman Mahlia Butler plays outside defender and senior Arianna Olsen is in at center defender. The Knights have two goalkeepers, freshmen Carolyn Dapper and Maddy McDevitt who split their time in goal or at outside defender.
“The girls are all really focused on what they’re doing on the field,” Gabelein said. “I’m getting the girls united and getting the girls bonded really quickly. It really translates on the field.”
King’s lost its first game in overtime to Archbishop Murphy, 3-2, Sept. 12. The Knights led with less than two minutes to play but a foul was called in the penalty box and the Wildcats converted a penalty kick. Archbishop Murphy and Cedarcrest, both 2A teams, are expected to be at the top of the Cascade Conference.
Gabelein, a three-time NAIA All-American at Westmont who was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame last year, helped develop Seattle Scores, a nonprofit, after-school soccer and literacy program for inner-city Seattle children.
The King’s job is her first high school coaching gig. She said the school community has embraced her team.
“The whole school has surrounded the girls and put their arms around them,” she said.