By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
September 13, 2006
For a larger school, having 18 players on the soccer team would be a cause for concern. At Cascade Locks, Coach Leif Fox considers it a bumper year.
“This is the first time I’ve had this kind of numbers,” he said of the turnout for his squad.
Among those 18 players are six freshmen who Fox said will be the core group of the developing team, and four returning players, three of whom have played under Fox for four years. While the team is young, Fox has high hopes.
“This is the strongest group athletically that I’ve had in years,” he said.
With only a few weeks of practice under the team’s belt, Fox and his players are not quite sure what to expect this season.
“We have a lot of talent, but we are young,” Derek Kelly said.
Race Fischer said the team’s “work ethic had been good” during practice and hopes that it will carry over into the season.
“I think we have lots of speed,” Fischer said. “We’ll do better than we have in the past.”
Fischer will play a key role for the Pirates as one of the team’s returning seniors. He can play in goal and as a regular player.
Like their nearby 1A counterparts at Horizon, turnover in the defense is a concern for the Pirates this season.
They return only two starters from last year’s unit and Kelly said that they have made working the new players into the defense a main emphasis for the team.
“Our experience is something we’ll have to work on with so many new freshmen,” Kelly said. “Our offense needs a little work, too, but hopefully after the first game we’ll get into the flow of it.”
The Cascade Locks volleyball team is already into its season, having played a match already.
Like the soccer team, the Pirates volleyball squad is young, having lost eight starters from last year.
The team’s two returning seniors, Robin Cook and Kayla Canada, will play prominent roles this season.
Fortunately for the rest of the team, the two seniors have different areas of expertise, with Canada making a mark with her hitting ability, and Cook excelling as a setter and passer.
While her team may not be stacked with natural athletic ability, Coach Tasha Nolin said that she prefers this group to one loaded with egos.
“I would rather have a team full of these girls than really athletic players with poor attitudes,” Nolin said. “I think this team works very well as a team and they support each other.”
In its first match of the year, the Pirates took Columbia Adventist to five games, taking a two game to one lead before dropping the final two.
“We did better than most of us thought we would do,” Cook said. “We just need to work on our communication.”
Many of the Pirates’ games will be against schools like Columbia Adventist that hold a significant size advantage on them, and the players are very aware that they will have to ramp up their efforts to stay competitive.
“We want everybody to try their hardest,” Canada said. “I’d personally like to see a winning season this year and hope that the young players gain all the experience they can for next year as well.”
Nolin likes her team’s attitude and their ability to play together as a team, as they get into the season, there is one trait that she has told them they will have to develop.
“They know they will have to scrap,” Nolin said. “I pound that into their heads every practice.”