Freshmen give King’s big boost | Girls soccer

By David Pan | Sep 21, 2017
The King’s girls soccer team is being overrun by freshmen.

The Knights graduated seven seniors from last season’s team that finished third at the 1A state tournament.

To help fill that void and the absence of a couple of individuals who aren’t playing high school soccer this season, King’s added six freshmen to the varsity roster. The six aren’t just bench warmers either.

“We’ve never had that many in 12 years,” Knights coach Nicole Gaberlein said. “We’ve never had more than two.”

King’s has a total of 19 freshmen in the program.

“We’re young, but they’re coming in ready to work,” Gaberlein said. “They’re going to see a lot of action.”

Freshmen, who have either started or are expected to be starters at some point, include forward Peri Welch, who scored two goals in King’s 6-2 victory over Granite Falls in its league opener, along with forward Marin Hawley, defender/midfielder Olivia Gabelein and defender Peyton Doyle.

“You can say it’s a building year. I don’t know if that’s the right word,” Gaberlein said. “I think we’ll be competitive. They’ve come together. They’re playing better and better.”

The Knights do return some talented players in senior forwards Katie Stella and Eleanor Baker and senior defender/midfielder Emma Fleming.

“We’ve got key players in great positions,” Gaberlein said.

The Knights also will be relying on junior midfielder Callie Wright, junior midfielder/defender Sarah Nielsen and newcomer Grace Roberts, a sophomore goalkeeper.

Stella, Wright, Olivia Gaberlein, Nielsen, Welch and freshman Meg Travis scored goals against the Tigers and in a 6-0 victory over South Whidbey on Thursday, Sept. 14.

“We’ve got a lot of different goal scorers,” Gaberlin said after the win over Granite Falls. “That was the one thing we set out to do tonight. You talk about working hard for each other and I think that was really evident today. It was hard work all over the field.”

Gaberlein said that the group dynamic with a wide age range of players is working out well in large part to the seniors.

“Our senior leadership has made the difference,” Gaberlein said. They really made them (freshmen) feel welcome.”

The expectation that King’s will battle for the Cascade Conference title and district and state playoff berths doesn’t change because of the roster makeup, Gaberlein said.

The Knights are still building, though

“We started at a different place than I’ve started out in several years because we started with so many freshmen,” Gaberlein said. “You’re going through different things with them. It’s re-teaching a lot of things. We haven’t gotten to set plays. We won’t get to them until a little bit longer.”