The goal for first-year Lynnwood girls soccer coach Gary Hunter is for the Royals to be a competitive team.
To accomplish this goal, Lynnwood is going to be relying on its senior class, which numbers about 40 percent of the roster.
The seniors are looking to finish their high school careers on a positive note.
“They want to show well,” Hunter said. “They want to have a good experience. You have senior leadership and that senior experience. I think that’s an advantage.”
The disadvantage is that the seniors are having the continuity with the program broken with the arrival of Hunter.
“They have to relearn new concepts and new ideas, new tactical information,” Hunter said. “You hope to go into your senior year rolling after your sophomore and junior years. For them it’s a bit of adjustment, trying to pick up a new philosophy.”
Cuts for the team were made at the end of last week, which means Hunter has only really been working with his varsity team this week.
“We’re just trying to build some structure within the team,” Hunter said. “We’re building an attack and building some defensive structures. We’re all just trying to work with one another and all move in one direction.”
Two midfielders who Hunter sees as key players are seniors Ashley Evangel and Cassie Fleishman.
“They have real good technical skills and they have good leadership,” Hunter said. “You can tell they want the best for their teammates and the best for their senior year.”
Three players are battling out for goalkeeper duties: Nicole Roundy, Morgan Lord and Teresa Almaw.
“We’re having practice competition to see who is going to fulfill that role,” Hunter said.
Two softball players – twins Jessica and Erica Gott – also figure prominently into Hunter’s plans.
“They have got strong leadership qualities and will have very important roles for our midfield and our defense,” Hunter said.
While the players are getting use to Hunter’s style of coaching, he is trying to learn what works best for them.
“I’m just trying to see how the players can fit into formations and how the formations need to fit the players,” Hunter said. “I’m a first-year coach. We’re all trying to get to know one another.”
Hunter will be looking for progress every step of the way this season.
“I want this group to be competative,” he said. “In the games I want to see bi-weekly progress, so we’re better at the end of the month than at the beginning.”