Cedar Park girls’ soccer aims to be more aggressive | Season preview

An aggressive mindset is the goal for the Cedar Park Christian girls' soccer team this fall as the Eagles look to rebound from last season's tough finish and move past the league playoffs.

An aggressive mindset is the goal for the Cedar Park Christian girls’ soccer team this fall as the Eagles look to rebound from last season’s tough finish and move past the league playoffs.

The Eagles went 2-5-1 against Class 1A teams in the hybrid Cascade Conference last year before losing to Lynwood and Sultan in the Division 1 playoffs. Offense was scarce, as the Eagles managed 11 goals all season, including both playoff games.

Lija Devine takes over as head coach after running the middle school varsity program for four years.

“They brought me into the office and asked if I was interested in coaching high school,” she said. “I knew eventually that I wanted to, and my daughter is in ninth grade this year. They actually asked me last year if I would do it, and I wanted to stay where my daughter was. I didn’t want to miss out on her games.”

With Haley Devine playing at the high school level, Lija Devine hopes to bring a more attacking mindset to the team.

The squad features five seniors, Kylie Fazio, Lavi Nastase, Clair Ballard, Alyssa Anderson and Jazzy Smith.

Smith, a returning center midfielder, said staying balanced and keeping the structure solid throughout games will be key.

“I think we need to be sure we have a lot of control in our midfield,” she said. “That’s the core of our team, and our strength comes from our forwards and our mids.”

Grace Hopf, a junior this year, led the team in scoring last fall. She said the goalscoring stats didn’t matter to her, rather, she hoped to set aside her gentle personality — at least on the field.

“We always take a long time to take shots,” she said. “That’s always been a problem we’ve had, so my goal is to take more shots more often, and a lot quicker.”

Devine plans to run a 4-4-2, with Ballard at left back, Fazio and Anderson in central defense. Nastase and Smith will anchor the center of the midfield, with Hopf at left forward and junior Kristin Nutley at right forward.

Freshman Jadelynn Calvert will get the start in goal, though Devine says there are a handful of other players willing to step up if needed.

GeorgiaLee Askdal rounds out the junior class. Sammy Schultz and Emilie Freed are both sophomores. Kyra Williams, Mikaehla Brown, Hailie and Hannah Paul and Marie Stegner are the remaining freshmen.

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