Coach: Gretchen Hanson (fifth year)
Last season: 5-10-2 overall
Key returners: Ellie Chambers, sr., midfielder/defender; Ellison Kephart, sr., forward; Abby Hylton, sr., forward; Megan McKenna, jr., midfielder; Abby Schnabel, jr., forward/midfielder; Jenna Oliver, jr., midfielder; Samantha Dziminowicz, soph., defender; Cadence Lamphiear, jr., defender; Kassie Jenson, sr., forward.
Key newcomers: Tesa Balding, soph., midfielder; Fai Puenpoh, jr., defender; Claire Schnabel, fr., goalkeeper.
Outlook: Youthful potential is what the Seahawks will rely on this season.
“We have a lot of young players coming up,” Hanson said. “Those girls have a soccer mindset. For us as a team, it’s about staying true to our formations and having eyes for the net.”
That youth movement is highlighted by Claire Schnabel.
The freshman will assume the goalkeeper position vacated by junior Ava Kephart. The first-team all-Northwest Conference goalie from a year ago underwent knee surgery and will miss the season.
Schnabel, however, has impressed Hanson.
“She looks good,” Hanson said. “She has a lot of potential and has really impressed me with her verbal communication in the back. That’s not always easy as a freshman, but Claire has done a great job. She has good height and a great wingspan. She’s able to make those saves side to side.”
Hanson also likes what she has seen from Balding, a recent transplant for Colorado.
Offensively, Hanson wants to see more goals from more players from more parts of the field of this season.
“At the moment, our front and back lines are ahead of our midfield,” she said. “Our midfield just needs to gain some experience. That’s where a lot of new players are. Right now, we are really focused on our zonal defense.”
Conference wise, Hanson said it’s different every year, which makes it fun.
“There are going to be some surprises out there,” she said. “I think Sedro-Woolley is going to be good. Sehome and Squalicum will be strong, and Blaine, they are going to be improved. Look for them to surprise teams. The middle of the pack, that’s going to be a dogfight. That is where it is really going to be interesting.”