After struggling last fall, a young Oak Harbor High School soccer team will try to jump up the Wesco standings this year.
The Wildcats return only one senior letter winner, Danielle Lonborg, from last year’s 2-14 team. The Wildcats went 1-11 in Wesco play.
Also back are juniors Mikaela Cortez, Gracie Hiteshaw, Morgan Lamar, Natalie Plush, Peyton Rhyne and Breanna Scheppler and sophomore Chloe Wallace.
Rhyne earned all-league honorable mention in 2017.
Freshman Tiana Jackson is a key newcomer, according to coach Mike Lonborg.
“We should have a solid defensive line,” coach Lonborg said. “They should keep us in the majority of games.”
The primary focus, he added, will be to improve the club’s offense, which scored one or fewer goals in 13 matches last year.
A concern is depth.
“(We have a) good group of girls this year, (but) we can’t afford many injuries to key players,” Lonborg said.
The goals for the season are to “stay close as a team, work together and improve as a unit,” according to Lonborg.
“The season will be a success if we make playoffs. Period,” he added.
The already powerful Western Conference will get even tougher this year with the addition of Cedarcrest and Archbishop Murphy, which finished 1-2 in the Cascade Conference last year.
Coupeville and South Whidbey will join Oak Harbor for a jamboree beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.
The first match is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Meadowdale (6-5-5 in 2017).
The home opener is 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, with Cascade (0-15-1).