Sports

Fall Sports Preview: Oak Harbor girls soccer

"The girls soccer team at Oak Harbor High School has set a goal this season: To keep playing when the regular season ends.And coach Guy Barber thinks his team could do just that.The girls want to go on to the post season this year, Barber said during a break from practice last Monday. And if they play up to their capabilities, they will.To reach their goal, the Wildcats will have to win consistently in the WestCo 4A, a league that has produced state championship girls soccer teams the last four years in a row.The good news is that Barber's team is not light in the capability department, even with the requisite cap-and-gowned departure of some key players.We lost four starters but got everyone else back, Barber said. So we have a good core group of some quality seniors. That group includes first team all-conference players like Jamie Diaz at marking back and midfielder Nikki Gamble. Then there's a quartet of returning second team all-conference players that includes senior Molly Bull at forward, senior Jamie Armstrong at midfield and juniors Katy Nydam and Thersa Black, both midfielders. Senior Kristen Harvey is back as well, playing sweeper.Our skill level from the number one player to number 18 will be very good, Barber said. Compared to last year, the skill level jumped from a C to a B-plus.In fact, Barber added, senior Abbey Busic should be one of the top goal keepers in the league.To be one of the top teams in the league, however, Barber said the team has to improve in some areas.We have to come together as a team, play a complete 80 minutes and stay focused a lot better, he said. For instance, Barber said, last year the Wildcats beat Kamiak 6-0 in their first meeting, then tied them in their next match a few weeks later.Better communication on the field will also be necessary if the Wildcats want to improve on last year's fourth-place finish in league play, he added.Still, Barber said he's very happy with this year's group of ladies. Last year we had lots of speed and average skill, he said. This year we have lots of speed and lots of skill. I expect to do better this year.The Wildcats open the soccer season at home this Thursday against Stanwood. "

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