Coach Robi Turley’s group of girls soccer players at Sumner High School is “just so special” she’s had to find unique ways to challenge her team.
Turley tries to test her players without embarrassing undermanned opponents. Sometimes in the second half of blowout victories, Turley only allows nine players on the field as a challenge to her team and out of respect to opponents.
Respectful to her talented team and disrespectful to opposing teams you ask?
“Last year, we kind of feel like, as coaches, we under-prepared them for state,” said Turley, a 1998 Auburn High School graduate and a former University of Oregon defender. “That’s kind of been the challenge. We tried not to score a lot of goals and we moved kids around and did a lot of subbing last year. We feel like that hurt us, because kids weren’t working together or in the same positions.
“This year, we tried keep the mentality that we are looking forward to playoffs. So, we are trying to keep goals down, but do other things.”
Despite that pull-in-the-reins mentality, the Spartans, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, have still managed to outscore opponents 70-1 in going 8-0-0 overall. They are 6-0-0 against South Puget Sound League (SPSL) 2A foes, outscoring them 58-1.
“We have played multiple games with nine players in the second half,” Turley said. “We have done tons of different restrictions on them in that scenario. We did that by choice, because this is definitely a very special team.
“I have four seniors when they were freshman who made it to the Sweet 16, then sophomore and junior years, they made it to the Elite Eight. Their slogan this year is ‘Unfinished business.'”
Actually the foursome of talented seniors have been together the last three seasons with high-scoring forward Kaylie Rozell joining the group as a sophomore after moving from New Mexico.
Rozell has already ready eclipsed her 18-match goal total of last season. Through eight matches in 2012, Rozell has racked up 21 goals and five assists. In 2011, she had 19 goals and six assists.
“Kaylie has a bunch of options, but she hasn’t committee yet,” said Turley, who is hoping to take Sumner to state for the seventh time in her eight-year tenure. “I know she wants to go to a smaller school. She’s looking at PLU (Pacific Lutheran University). She literally just wears down defenders.
“She is very, very fit, she’s really, really fast and she’s strong. She’s never standing still.”
Gonzaga-bound Sarah Carter is a four-year starter at sweeper, the same position her coach Turley played.
Rounding out the foursome of seasoned seniors are defender Krista Morford and forward Brenna Allsop.
The Spartans get the biggest test of the season on Tuesday, traveling to SPSL 2A rival Fife for a 7 p.m. match.
“What I struggle with is keeping these girls motivated every single game,” Turley said. “We do a lot of things with the end-goal in sight. We talk about what we can do to challenge ourselves every minute.”
Turley says it would be a disservice to just look at Sumner’s lopsided match scores.
“Some coaches would rather just get pummeled and be played straight up, and other coaches would rather us do something to prevent goals,” she said. “We’ve had coaches get upset if we just play possession, because they say it’s embarrassing. Or playing with nine players, that’s embarrassing.
“I’ve kind of had a mixed reaction. There are tough challenges in our league and not every one is a rollover.”
When postseason hits, things will be different. For now, it’s knowing when to back off the gas pedal.
“We talk about it as a team and my girls are frustrated when people see the scores, and say, ‘Wow, what a bunch of jerks,'” Turley said. “And, my girls get frustrated, and says it’s because ‘No, we’re just really good. We’re trying to do other things. You need to come watch how we play.'”
Around the Area
Tahoma, ranked No. 1 in 4A, debuted in the national rankings picture at No. 11 in the Top 25 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) national poll for Sept. 25, 2012. Issaquah, ranked No. 4 in 4A, dropped out of the rankings from No. 14 to the “also receiving votes” category. Here’s the Sept. 11 poll below:
The Bears (8-0-0) walloped neighboring rival Kentwood 6-1 on Saturday. Tahoma got the three goals from Kaysha Darcy, a goal and two assists from Mackenzie Henke and two assists from Brie Hooks.
“I’m very proud of my girls,” Tahoma coach Jason Johnson said. “We played really well Saturday night. The girls worked hard all week to be prepared and the hard work paid off. We shared the ball and everyone stepped up. I can’t say it enough about how proud I am of this team. They are great kids with an amazing work ethic.”
Saturday night’s match wasn’t a battle of unbeatens as expected with Kentwood falling 2-1 to Auburn on Sept. 25.
Games to Watch
Here are this week’s top matchups:
Tuesday, Oct. 2 – KingCo 4A, Inglemoor at Skyline, 6 p.m.; WesCo 4A, Cascade (Everett) at Lake Stevens, 7:30 p.m.; KingCo 3A/2A, Liberty (Issaquah) at Mount Si, 7:30 p.m.; 3A Metro League, Holy Names at Seattle Prep (Miller Playfield), 3:30 p.m.; Bishop Blanchet at Lakeside, 4 p.m.; 2A/1A Cascade Conference, Archbishop Murphy at Lakewood, 6 p.m.; SPSL 2A, Sumner at Fife, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 4 – 4A South Puget Sound League (SPSL) North Division, Auburn at Tahoma, 7:30 p.m.; KingCo 4A, Redmond at Ballard, 7:30 p.m.; Issaquah at Inglemoor (Pop Keeney Stadium), 6 p.m.; WesCo 4A, Edmonds-Woodway at Monroe, 7:30 p.m.; KingCo 3A/2A, Mercer Island at Lake Washington, 7:30 p.m.; Interlake at Liberty (Issaquah), 7:30 p.m.; 3A Metro League, Seattle Prep at Eastside Catholic, 4 p.m.; Lakeside at Holy Names, 3:30 p.m.
Here are The Seattle Times 2012 rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A for Week 5 (current 2012 record in parentheses):
Class 4A, 3A & 2A girls soccer state rankings – Week 5
1, Tahoma (Maple Valley) (8-0-0)
2, Gig Harbor (5-0-0)
3, Skyline (Sammamish) (7-0-2)
4, Issaquah (9-1-0)
5, Davis (Yakima) (8-0-0)
6, Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma) (5-1-1)
7, Union (Vancouver) (8-0-0)
8, Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (8-1-1)
9, Camas (8-1-0)
10, Edmonds-Woodway (7-1-0)
On the bubble: Kentwood (Covington) (6-2-0), Mead (Spokane) (5-2-0), Kentridge (6-2-0), South Kitsap (4-2-0), Central Valley (Spokane) (7-1-0), Redmond (5-3-1), Skyview (Vancouver) (6-1-2), Snohomish (6-3-0), Inglemoor (5-1-2), Curtis (6-0-2), Puyallup (6-1-1), Cascade (Everett) (5-1-1), Moses Lake (4-2-0), Federal Way (3-0-6), Olympia (4-1-1), Woodinville (3-3-1), Ballard (5-4-0), Arlington (4-2-1), Chiawana (Pasco) (7-2-0) Richland (5-3-0), Auburn (4-3-0).
1, Meadowdale (Lynnwood) (8-0-0)
2, Mount Spokane (10-0-0)
3, Seattle Prep (8-1-2)
4, Everett (7-1-0)
5, Mercer Island (7-0-1)
6, Kamiakin (Kennewick) (7-1-1)
7, Bainbridge (8-1-0)
8, Interlake (Bellevue) (5-1-2)
9, Columbia River (7-0-1)
10, Enumclaw (6-2-0)
On the bubble: Lakeside (5-3-1), Auburn Mountainview (3-3-1), Mount Si (4-2-0), Eastside Catholic (3-4-0), Holy Names (6-4-0), Bishop Blanchet (5-4-2), Shorecrest (6-2-0), Kennedy Catholic (4-3-0), Bonney Lake (4-2-1), Liberty (Issaquah) (4-2-0), Hanford (6-3-0), University (Spokane) (4-3-0), Hazen (3-3-1).
1, Sumner (8-0-0)
2, West Valley (Yakima) (7-0-0)
3, Archbishop Murphy (Everett) (9-0-0)
4, Sehome (Bellingham) (9-0-1)
5, Klahowya (Silverdale) (9-0-0)
6, Pullman (9-1-0)
7, Fife (6-1-0)
8, Squalicum (Bellingham) (7-1-1)
9, Capital (Olympia) (8-1-1)
10, West Valley (Spokane) (7-1-0)
On the bubble: Black Hills (6-2-0), W.F. West (Chehalis) (8-1-0), Cedarcrest (Duvall) (4-5-0), Clarkston (5-2-0), Hockinson (6-3-1), East Valley (Yakima) (5-2-0), Tumwater (5-3-0), Ridgefield (4-3-1), White River (Buckley) (5-2-0).