Pacific women's soccer season preview
FOREST GROVE – The Pacific women's soccer team has proved over the past two seasons that they are a top contender in the Northwest Conference.
Since the wife and husband tandem of Head Coach Morgan Crabtree and Associate Head Coach Dane Joseph took over the program in 2010, they have worked hard to build and grow a program to put Pacific on the map to be a top team in the conference.
In 2011, the Boxers finished with a 10-6-4 record for the season, with the 10 wins making the most in program history since 2002. In 2010, the Boxers fourth place NWC finish was their best in program history since 2002.
This season, the Boxers are transitioning from losing seven seniors to a large group of freshmen. They come in young, but the returners are helping to convey the program expectations. The Boxers expect the growth of the program to continue as they build on their achievements from the past two seasons.
"The biggest thing right now is incorporating the new players into the program and getting them up to speed with the program expectations and buying into what we're all about; building the cohesion between the newcomers and returners," said Crabtree.
The Boxers are taking a trip down to California, which is a first in Crabtree's tenure. She is hoping to see her team gain some experience, not only on the field but off the field as well.
"We really are hoping that this trip will help build camaraderie and help get our team both mentally and psychologically on the same page," Crabtree said.
After the first few days of practices, the coaches were impressed with the team and how fit they came in on the first day of practice. "It's fantastic," said Crabtree. "They are fit, they are working hard and really coming together well."
The coaches are putting more pressure on the players this season to set their own goals. The team motto, as established by Crabtree and Joseph, is to be individually different but united as a team.
"We're trying to put more responsibility on them. We want them to start to think about what is realistic, what they want to get out of this experience, and what they can do to reach the goals that they set," said Crabtree.
With those expectations in mind, the Boxers will look to the four seniors to lead the pack of young Boxers. Brittany Hartmann (Sr., Portland, Ore.), Sarah Tuffey (Sr., Velencia, Calif.), Kaitlyn Harper (Sr., Beavercreek, Ore.) and Kristen Dick (Sr., Auburn, Wash.) step in with three years of significant playing experience and two with Crabtree as the head coach.
"The freshmen have already expressed how much the returners have been so welcoming and very encouraging to them, so it's great they have built that camaraderie," stated Joseph. "It's going to help us with our long term and short term goals."
The upperclassmen are all on the same page, in terms of what they want the team to accomplish and where they want this program to head.
"They have put a lot of work in over the last year to get to the point where they can lead the underclassmen in that direction," said Crabtree. "I think, from a soccer stand point, some of them didn't have to step up last year because we had the fall back of the experience of the seniors. Now it's time and we are confident they are in a position to really lead this program to the next stage. There's nothing holding them back."
Anna Richardson (Jr., Napa, Calif.) and Tuffey will be a tough combo to go up against this season. Richardson has struggled the past two season with injuries, but is back this season and healthy. She has formed a great partnership with Tuffey and the two will see plenty playing time up top.
"If the two of them can keep it going, they should be unstoppable against almost anyone," said Joseph. "Sarah's confidence is now matching her ability and will be a dangerous combination against our opponents."
Tuffey saw the field in all 20 games last season, starting 14 of those matches. She found the back of the net twice and also tallied one assist for the season. She totaled 28 shots with 13 shots on goal.
McKenna Davidson (Fr., Kailua Kona, Hawaii) and Dani McMurray (Fr., Gresham, Ore.) will also see time up top. Davidson was a four-time All-BIIF selection in high school and McMurray was selected to the All-Mt. Hood Conference Second Team in 2011.
Harper and Kailee Green (So., Hillsboro, Ore.) will be the work horses of the midfield. Harper played in all 20 games last season, scoring one goal. She shot 27 times with 10 shots on goal. "Her leadership on the field is exemplified in every play she makes," states Joseph.
Green was an Honorable Mention All-Northwest Conference selection in 2011. She played in all 20 games with 17 starts. She was second on the team in scoring with four goals. She shot 33 times with 22 shots on goal.
Kamryn Plechot (So., La Palma, Calif.), a transfer from Vanguard University in California, has stepped in right off the bat and will see time as a defensive midfielder. Chandler Bowen (So., Silverdale, Wash.) is also competing for time at the midfield position. She saw the field 10 times last season.
Kaeli Laxson (Jr., Nampa, Idaho) will look to lead the defenders. After mostly playing outside back last season, she will step into the centerback position due to the graduation of two key seniors. Laxson played in all 20 games with 14 starts. "She's ready and willing to take on that role and is looking strong," said Crabtree.
Rachel Pratt (Fr., Belfair, Wash.) will be a prime candidate for playing time. She was selected to the All-Olympic League Team all four years in her high school campaign, with a pair of first team selections her last two years.
"She has been solid, and we are very excited about her," said Crabtree.
Morgan McClincy (Fr., Beaverton, Ore.) has the potential to play left back this season. She was captain for the Westview's two Oregon State Semifinal teams in 2010 and 2011.
Hartmann and Kayla Davidson (Jr., Kailua Kona, Hawaii) will be competing for time in the net this season. Over the past two seasons, these two have really formed a great partnership and are very competitive.
"Neither of them will let the other one take their foot off the gas, which makes for a very good partnership," said Crabtree.
"They both complimented each other two years ago, so one's strength was the other's weakness, but they have worked so hard to try and beat each other out, that they are pretty much equal right now in a lot of categories," said Joseph.
Hartmann, an Honorable Mention All-NWC in 2011, played and started in 18 matches last season and led the Boxers with seven shutouts. She was third in the NWC with 84 saves. She helped set a Pacific record for team goals against average with 1.05.