Veteran coach takes reins at Oak Harbor

The Oak Harbor High School girls soccer team has a veteran coach on the sidlelines for the 2007 season.

Steve Barker, who has coached the Wildcat boys team for the past 17 years, takes over from Gretchen Hanson who is on leave after having a baby.

Last year the team finished with a 1-14-1 record but defeated Marysville-Pilchuck in the final game of the season, so Barker has something to build on and the team knows how it feels to win.

Oak Harbor returns four seniors with a lot of playing experience to the roster. These players are Brooke DeWitt, Brynn Fakkema, Alyssa Merriman and Sam Shulock.

“I have one more senior on the roster and that’s Kelly Roberts,” Barker said. “She has been doing a good job in practice and she might be the other goalkeeper with Sam. I have a terrible dilemma, one I like.”

Juniors returning to the roster are Kathy Silvera, Carson McKole, Roni Tomlin, Claire Trepanier and Kirsten Roof.

“I also have some other players coming up from the junior varsity,” Barker said. “There are 38 players out this year and that’s an improvement in numbers for us. We also have a good contingent of freshmen who have experience playing on the club teams. Three or four of them have played off the island on a fairly high level, at a premier level, and that will help.”

Barker said the team is working hard to improve on last year’s record.

“The kids are interested, they are excited and we’ll see how we go,” Barker said. “I don’t want to get too far out in front of us, but I have an encouraging group.”

As in past years, Cascade and Snohomish will be the teams to beat in the WesCo North.

“They have huge feeder programs and they’ve got all the things you need to be successful,” Barker said. “I would also include Lake Stevens in that group. After that, there will be a lot of teams who are not too far off and we hope ourselves would be included.”

The Wildcats played a great game in their first WesCo North matchup of the season, beating Cascade 1-0 in Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

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