ILWACO — The girls’ soccer team at Ilwaco enters its second season, and first year of varsity play. They will play in a ten-team league that combines Pacific and Central League schools.

Last season, the Lady Fishermen played a schedule of mostly JV opponents, plus a pair of games against South Bend, their fellow expansion team, who will be joining them in league play this year. Their first of six wins came against the Astoria JV squad in early September.

As the team got started, they were highly reliant on their top athlete, Erika Glenn, to go the length of the field and create scoring chances. As the season went on, they gradually became balanced on offense, able to get open and connect on passes.

“It was a matter of learning what we’re capable of,” said Sunny Kemmer. “Eventually, we relied on each other and learned each other’s skills.”

“They really came together,” coach Andrew Goodwin said. “It had been three or four years since any of them had played together. They had to relearn their strengths, and who they could count on to be in what position…. They started looking for open players on the outside of the midfield, and finding opportunities to hit over the other team’s defense.”

Kemmer and Elle Personius emerged as scoring threats in addition to Glenn. Personius finished with 12 goals, Glenn with nine and Kemmer with seven. Personius and Glenn will play midfield this year in the team’s 4-4-2 system. Kemmer is an all-around player whose position Goodwin has yet to decide on.

“Sunny was great at forward, but she was great on defense when we put her there late last year.”

Goodwin ran the same 4-4-2 alignment last year, and expects players to have a better grasp of the nuances of their roles this year.

“We’re trying to build flexibility with midfielders, knowing when to transition forward and backward,” he said.

Faith Richardson returns at goalkeeper.

Goodwin is excited about the team competing in league play for the first time.

“We’re playing varsity teams, but we’re playing some smaller schools than we’ve played before, playing teams the girls have played in other sports.”

Ilwaco opens against Castle Rock at home at noon Sept. 14. The league opener is against South Bend Monday, Sept. 16.

Aaron Mead is a sports writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact him at 360-642-8181 or aaroncmead@gmail.com.

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