This year, Ukiah High School’s Girls Varsity soccer team started their season losing five of their first six games. Despite the rough start, UHS News spoke to girls varsity coach Naomi Rhodes about this season’s team and games ahead.
Coach Rhodes said she is excited about the girls on this season’s team because many of them played club together in the fall and had great success. ¨I’m excited to build off that success and continue to improve our game against some pretty difficult competition in the Oak League.”
Another aspect of this season that excites Coach Rhodes is the new UHS soccer field being installed that will provide players with a state-of-the-art turf experience.
Reflection on the first six games of the season, Coach Rhodes recognized that Payton O’Ferral and Sarahi Sandoval played well “holding down the middle” in their first couple of games. She thinks that since they are seniors they bring a lot of needed experience and leadership to their young vastity team.
Coach Rhodes also shouted out Sophomore Olivia Damian and Junior Payton Torres for playing well in the center-back position.
Furthermore, 10th grader Avalon Crowder, serving as the team’s goalie, has made “huge saves,” Coach Rhodes said.
Since the team has already played several games, Coach Rhodes thinks that they need to rethink their formation and plan since they have lost some key players to injury. “We need to continue to work on our defensive shape and play with discipline against some of the strong opponents we’ll face off against this season,” Coach Rhodes explained.
The girl’s varsity team has a long season ahead of them, but Coach Rhodes thinks that playing Rancho Cotati will be the most exciting game of the season because last season they lost, won, and tied, and she estimates the two teams are evenly matched.
10th Avalon Crowder, the Varsity team’s goalie, says that she is excited that they have a really strong team. “Payton Offeral and Payton Torres are both really good. I think we will get better, and these first couple of games have opened our eyes to what this season is going to be like. We are going to start to improve.”
Crowder went on to say the team needs to work on their intensity in games. Crowder is excited to play Rancho Cotati, she says that last year they had a hard matchup against them and wants to see how they could do this year.
Tenth grader Olivia Damian middle defensive player on the Ukiah High School says she is excited this season to be challenged by hard teams they will be playing because they moved up a level in their division this season.
Damian looked forward to when the Wildcats will face Maria Carillo and Cardinal Newman approaching their competition with better communication and intensity.