Fall prep preview | Coupeville soccer

Fitness is the goal for the Coupeville High School soccer team, according to first-year coach Dan d’Almeida. And that goal, he hopes, leads to goals.

The Wolves struggled to find the back of the net last fall, scoring only three goals in 14 league matches. D’Almeida is implementing a counter-attack offense to help generate more scoring opportunities, 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.”

Last year’s scoring drought, d’Almeida said, wasn’t “a lack of a striker but because our build-up was limited so we didn’t get the ball in our attacking third nearly often enough.”

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.  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 Rosenkranz; and sophomore defender Ivy Luvera.

Coach d’Almeida said, “Besides the returning varsity players, I expect contributions from Jacki Ginnings and Mickayla Levine.”

Key newcomers, d’Almeida said, are senior forward Madison Tisa-McPhee, and sophomores McKayla Bailey, Makana Stone and Jennifer Spark.

“We have a nice mix of veterans and solid underclassmen who are veteran club or rec players,” d’Almeida said. “The girls are bonding nicely as a team this season…I believe the seniors and sophomores are more than ready to step in and make strong contributions to a well-organized, team defense.”

He said a “big priority” is finding “a reliable goalie and an additional central defender.”

The Wolves had a great first week of practice and are working hard, d’Almeida said. He said because of the strength of 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.”

The Wolves begin the season at home at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, with Oak Harbor.

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