It might be a stretch to say that the Meadowdale girls soccer team comes into every year with the expectation of playing in the state tournament.
Then again, maybe not.
In Wade Foley’s four-year tenure as head coach, the Mavericks have advanced to state three times, including a fourth-place finish in the Class 3A tournament in 2011.
Meadowdale graduated nine seniors from last year but many of the seniors shared playing time with their younger teammates. The 2013 team also will have a senior class of nine players.
A trio of senior standouts gives the Mavericks plenty of firepower up front. Forward Emily Crichlow scored 18 goals last year. Midfielders Alyssa Navlet and Kendall Raecker are among the top midfielders in the Western Conference 3A.
“All three of those girls are real big performers,” Foley said. “I can play any one of those girls in any of those (offensive) positions. … We can move them around pretty much at will.”
The defense is anchored by junior goalkeeper Ashley Routh. She will be working with some different players as Meadowdale’s defense is largely new.
“We’re building from the back. We’re trying to figure out how to do that,” Foley said. “The challenge that I have is that I lost three starting defenders. It’s tough to replace three seniors. They did a really great job of protecting.”
Foley added that the talent is there. It’s just a matter of finding the right combinations.
“We don’t drop off too much,” he said. “We did lose a lot of experience.
“Right now we’re trying to find the right chemistry and see which girls fit. We’ve had to make a few adjustments and make sure we have coverage in the right places.”
Sisters Claire and Megan Zollars will assume larger roles on the team this season.
“They’re going to be real essential to the defense,” Foley said. “Alyssa Navlet may end up playing some defense for us.”
The returning talent has Foley and his players thinking big.
“The girls have really high expectations,” Foley said. “My goal is always to get to state.”