Despite losses, Highlander soccer looks to repeat

The Hazen girls soccer team is coming off a Seamount Championship season and may have lost eight four-year starters, but with a handful of top returners on the field, the Highlanders are looking to make another run at the playoffs.

This year, the Highlanders will be led by senior forward Brook Swenson and junior defender Erin Zetterberg, both of whom have already committed to colleges, accoridng to coach Ken Matthews.

Last year, Swenson had 13 goals and five assists for the Highlanders, earning a spot on the Seamount All-League first team. She is headed to Evergreen College next year.

Other top returners are junior defender Nicole Anderson, junior midfielder Taylor Lenton, junior keeper Brittany Dinkins and sophomore midfielder Amy Warmenhoven. Matthews also said junior midfielder Sarah Hart, sophomore defender Kierra Lim and defender Georgia Lawrence are all top newcomers to the team.

“But this team’s success will live and die by ‘all-for-one’ so every girl will have a huge part,” Matthews said, adding that the Highlanders are planning a formation change this season.

“At the first day of tryouts, a couple of keys fell into place,” Matthews said. “Hope that happens again.”

The 2014 Highlander girls have big shoes to fill. Last year’s team finished 7-0-0 in the Seamount and 12-8-0 overall, advancing to the first round of the state tournament. But that team had played together for years. Eight members of the squad were four-year starters who led the team to two league championships, 11 playoff games and earned a total of 23 All-League awards during their tenure at Hazen.

But Matthews said he thinks his team will compete.

“We expect to battle for the league championship, get to the playoffs and would love to get back to state,” he said.

Hazen opens their season Sept. 9 at home against Liberty.

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