“We have a relatively young team because almost all our varsity team last year was seniors,” Smith said. “We have four returning varsity players, but I coached junior varsity last year so they know my style and how I coach.”
Caroline Gordon is returning for her senior season to anchor La Cañada’s defense in goal after blocking nearly half the shots she faced with a 47% save percentage with 123 saves on 258 shots on goal.
“She's been a four-year starter,” Smith said. “It's great to have that experience back there.”
Katherine Landesman figures to see an expanded role as an attacker in her senior season after earning second-team all-league honors as a junior midfielder with six goals, four assists and 47 ground balls.
Smith is happy with his team, but doesn't quite know what to expect from this season as his team just began practicing on a full field Friday due to both of the school’s soccer teams’ playoff runs.
“It's been hard to gauge how we move and how we play on an actual field so far,” Smith said. “I was really pleased with [Friday] so I am hoping the fact they've all been playing together for a while pays off.”
Westridge will look to improve on its 4-10, 2-4 in league record from last year under first-year Coach Theresa Mullally.
“It is actually looking pretty good,” Mullally said. “We have a strong base of upperclassmen that have returned and we have some underclassmen that are quite strong as well. All in all we have a few players who are very athletic and are picking [the sport] up quite quickly. It is going to be a promising season.”
Four upperclassmen return to lead the Tigers, who graduated just two seniors last year. Eda Reed, a senior, will hold down the center position after scoring 11 goals and posting three assists last year.
Elizabeth Chemel, Annsley Matthiessen and Lili Lim highlight an impressive core of juniors.