Last year the nine graduating Lady Huskie soccer players saw the fruits of their four year rebuilding process.
“We shared the title,” Othello coach Bernie Garza said. “We had a building program four years ago, and last year, we had a bunch of girls graduate.”
Four of those graduates will continue to play soccer at the next level. The teams leading goal scorer, Nikki Velazquez is at Walla Walla Community College, and goalie Jenelle Garza, forward Kaylee Martinez and midfielder Elena Mendoza are all at Columbia Basin Community College.
This years Huskie squad will be made up of players off the varsity bench or up from the junior varsity.
“We have a lot of returning athletes that are going to fill the spots of those who graduated,” Garza said.
Defenders Rilee Heist and Sammy Garza along with midfielder Jazlyhn Verduzco are the returning starters. Defender Kaiden Quigley also returns, but will miss the early part of the season with an injury.
Although the squad has only completed three days of pre-season practice, coach Garza was willing to share his early impressions of who might earn a starting spot.
“The two starting forwards are probably going to be sophomores Emily Mendez and Kylie Ashton.”
Midfielders include Ebany Guzman, Shaya Parrish, Verduzco and Heist.
Defenders are Anna Trinidad, Lidia Rodriquez and Kayla Guzman. Giselle Monroy will be the goalie.
“Grace Sorensen and Ameia Perez are in the mix for a varsity spot,” Garza said.
Last summer, Othello won more than half of their 16 games in a league with squads from Royal, Mattawa and Warden.
Garza looks to the future with his young and inexperienced squad.
“I have a good core group of girls coming up,” he said. “We are going to be young team with two or three seniors max. That is bad, but it is also good because it means we are going to be good for a couple of years.”