Wildcats adjusting well to significant lineup changes | Girls soccer

By David Pan | Oct 06, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Archbishop Murphy junior forward Tia Asher battles for position against South Whidbey.

The Archbishop Murphy girls soccer team is slowly finding its identity.

The Wildcats’ starting lineup underwent significant changes with the graduation of a half dozen seniors, who helped lead the team to a third-place finish at the 2A state tournament last season.

A hard-fought 3-2 victory over King’s and a dominating 6-2 win over Cedar Park Christian – Bothell last week gave the Wildcats’ momentum as they head into the second half of the regular season.

“Offensively, we feel better about ourselves,” Archbishop Murphy coach Mike Bartley said. “Our starting lineup, I think we’re set, ready to go.”

The offense revolves around junior Lexie Klaudt and sophomore Madison Long. Klaudt scored five goals and Long had three in last week’s two victories.

“That’s kind of our hybrid offense,” Bartley said.

Junior Gabrielle Koch is another standout, who not only can score but is a playmaker with the most assists on the team.

“Gabi feeds them all day long,” Bartley said. “She can score from range. She has quite a few goals.”

Sophomore Lily Zwiefel returns as goalkeeper to anchor a defense that has allowed one goal or has shut out the opponent in five games.

Archbishop Murphy (6-1 in the Cascade Conference and 7-2-1 overall) currently is in first place ahead of Cedarcrest (5-0-1, 7-0-2), who handed the Wildcats their only league loss, 3-1 on Sept. 14. The rematch was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 5, after the Beacon’s deadline.

“We know how to play better as a unit,” junior co-captain Koch said. “We’re just going to come out 100 percent from the beginning. We didn’t really do that last time. I think just starting out a lot stronger will really help.”

Bartley noted that two of the Red Wolves’ goals came on corner kicks. Cedarcrest’s lineup is composed largely of seniors and juniors, who are strong and physical.

“We figured out in that game that we’re not,” Bartley said. “We shifted our strong and physical people for our restarts. … They’re big and strong and we’re not. So we have to make up the difference in how hard we work and how fast we are.”

Junior co-captain Emily Schwartz noted that the Wildcats are still learning what it takes to be successful.

“We have to come and show up to every game no matter what, no matter who we are facing,” she said. “We have to come with the same intensity every single game and we can’t take a play off. We have to keep working.”

Midway through last season, the Wildcats realized that they started having success when they controlled the ball, defended strong and mounted counter attacks.

“We’re going to be a defensive team that counter attacks,” Bartley said. “We’re in that mode. … Play good defense. Keep it close and grab a goal or two and then work hard on restarts to make sure that we’re clean.”

Junior co-captain Klaudt likes the growth she’s seen so far from a young team that is growing as a family.

“That’s one of our main things – family – and just playing together,” she said. “It’ll show on the field.”

 

NOTE

HONORING KRISTI: Each year the Archbishop Murphy girls soccer team picks a game to honor and remember Kristi Bartz, a standout soccer player and track and athlete, who was killed when she was hit by a train on a trestle over the Stillaguamish River during her senior year. Players from Archbishop Murphy and Cedar Christian – Bothell met in the center of the field and released yellow balloons after a short prayer. Yellow was Bartz’s favorite color and the balloons lined the field during the game.

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