The Coupeville High School soccer team had trouble running up the score last fall, so this season first-year coach Dan d’Almeida is having the Wolves run.
The Wolves struggled to find the back of the next last fall, scoring only three goals in 14 league matches. D’Almeida is implementing a counter-attack offense to help generate more offense, but to counter attack, his players have to be in good physical shape.
He said, “Our focus in fitness first. From that, we can build a counter attack and play smarter tactically to increase our scoring chances. With more pace and aggressiveness, I’m hopeful that we can put more balls in the net while continuing to make progress on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Wolves will lean on a talented group of seniors, multi-letter winners forward Kelsey Miranda, defender Anna Bailey, midfielder Amanda d’Almeida and midfielder Haley Marx. Amanda d’Almeida, the coach’s daughter, is a two-time all-conference selection.
Six other letter winners return, junior defender Victoria Wellman; sophomore midfielders Marisa Etzell, Christine Fields, Ana Luvera and Erin Rosenkrance; and sophomore defender Ivy Luvera.
Coach d’Almeida said, “Besides the returning varsity players, I expect contributions from Jacki Ginnings (D) and Mickayla Levine (F).”
Key newcomers, d’Almeida said, are senior forward Madison Tisa-McPhee, and sophomores goalie McKayla Bailey, forward Makana Stone and defender Jennifer Spark.
In addition to picking up the offense, Coupeville needs to find “a reliable goalie and an additional central defender,” d’Almeida said.
The coach knows success doesn’t come over night and the Wolves have a longs ways to catch the elite teams in the league: “Expecting big results is certainly not realistic.”
He added, “However, we have great pride and I believe the girls will pull more than a few surprises.
“We have a nice mix of veterans and solid underclassmen who are veteran club or rec players. Sean Levine is select coaching many Island players on a competitive team. We are fortunate to have many of these players who contributed on JV and varsity last year in our underclass group.”
“The girls are bonding nicely as a team this season…We have lost several hard-working players from last year, but I believe the seniors and sophomores are more than ready to step in and make strong contributions to a well-organized, team defense.”
D’Almeida sees Archbishop Murphy, Cedarcrest and Lakewood as the top Cascade Conference teams.
Coupeville will be competitive and “leave it all out on the field,” d’Almeida said. “We’d love to have the crowd support behind us. Our group of seniors have been playing varsity for four years and they deserve our community support.”
The Wolves begin the season at home at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, with Oak Harbor, then later meet South Whidbey twice. “Competing successfully on the Island is certainly important to us,” d’Almeida said.
He concluded by saying he is fond of a saying he heard from a college coach, “Our family versus their team.”
Also the Wolves will find out if the family that runs together wins together.