In this edition of “The Full 80,” a look Seattle Prep’s perfect mix of youth and experience after falling short in 2013.
Seattle Prep looks primed for 3A title run again
The sting from last season’s difficult Class 3A state semifinal loss has put some pep in the step of the Seattle Prep girls soccer team.
A mix of returning talent and high-caliber newcomers has the Panthers thinking big again in 2014.
Seattle Prep, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, is off to an impressive 9-0-0 start overall and 6-0-0 mark in the Metro Mountain Division.
Losing to eventual 3A state champion Liberty of Issaquah 2-1 in overtime shootout and then settling for fourth place in 2013 helped light the competitive spark to get back and do more.
“We finished fourth last year and lost to the eventual state champions on penalty kicks,” said Seattle Prep coach Andy Hendricks, who has guided the Panthers to two 3A state titles in his 25 years, including a 20-0-2 team which brought home the 2011 3A crown. “We talked about that. We’re pretty explicit about what that emotion was at that moment.
“It’s one of those moments in life, that if you don’t like that feeling, then you can do something about it. Those seniors don’t have that chance again. That’s the goal – to do better than last year.”
The Panthers own five top-two state finishes and have reached to title match five of the previous eight seasons. This team should be talented enough on paper to join the club and being so close last year drives the holdovers.
“[The championship loss] just helps capture focus,” said Hendricks, whose 2013 team lost the shootout portion 5-4 in the 3A title match. “We’ve talked about it a couple of times.”
So far, Prep has outscored foes 26-7 and features a lineup ripe with high-caliber players, including three NCAA Division I recruits.
Junior Sam Hiatt (Boston College) and Jalen Woodward (University of Southern California) and senior Olivia Ovenell (University of San Diego) have committed to play college soccer.
Hiatt was invited to a U.S. Women’s Soccer U-18 national team camp in September.
“She’s the complete package,” Hendricks said. “She sees the game and very athletic. Her physicality has improved this year, and she’s stronger and faster.”
Mix in some underclassmen starters with major talent – sophomores Laura Roberts and Megan Floyd and freshmen Taylor Nielsen and Sophie Hirst – and it’s easy to why the Panthers would be a strong candidate to win the 3A state title.
“We have the expectation that we will be playing for the state championship,” Hendricks said. “We don’t take that for granted, and there’s pressure that comes with that.
“There are good teams in the area, and we think we’re amongst those good teams. We want to be the best team that Seattle Prep’s ever had.”
The Panthers also get back the services of junior defender Katie Eckman, who missed 2013 for personal reasons. Eckman usually plays right back on a defensive back line of experienced players.
Junior Kathryn Zepeda replaces four-year starter and now graduated Abby Rockwell at goalkeeper.
Around the Area
One team from Washington state – Kentridge at No. 23 — remained in the Top 25 of the national rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Below is the NSCAA’s Sept. 30 poll (the next poll is out today, Oct. 7):
Four teams from Washington are in NSCAA’s Region VI Top-15 poll, led by Kentridge at No. 4 and followed by Issaquah at No. 6 and Skyline of Sammamish at No. 9. The link below is for the Region VI, which came out Sept. 30 (the next poll is out today, Oct. 7):
Three teams from Washington state – Kentridge at No. 10, Skyline of Sammamish at No. 19 and Issaquah at No. 22 – are currently in the Fall FAB 50 High School Girls Soccer Rankings from Sept. 30 put out by www.topdrawersoccer.com (the next poll is out today, Oct. 7):