Preview: Bradshaw Mountain girls soccer retools without any seniors on roster
Prep Girls Soccer
PRESCOTT VALLEY — The Bradshaw Mountain girls soccer team likely won’t return to the 4A state play-in tournament this winter with a considerably greener group than it had a season ago.
Nevertheless, the Bears would seem to have a bright future ahead of them.
Bradshaw Mountain coach John Sterling, whose 2017-18 Bears finished the season with a No. 11 ranking, a 7-5-1 record and a 1-0 loss to Palo Verde Magnet in the play-in round Jan. 25, enters the 2018-19 campaign without any seniors. Ten seniors on last winter’s team graduated in May.
The Bears, who will play a weaker schedule this season, kick it off at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, at Arcadia in Phoenix. Their home opener at Bob Pavlich Field in Prescott Valley is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, versus Cortez.
On his 17-player roster, Sterling has five juniors, five sophomores and seven freshmen. He’s concentrating on the learning process with his players, first and foremost. That means he wants them to learn about themselves, their team and their opponents, Sterling said.
“There’s going to have to be a lot of patience this year,” Sterling added. “It’s definitely been a trying preseason for us, just because of the youth that’s out there. We’ve got some halfway decent players, but they don’t have any experience at this level.”
At least a handful of Bears who started last year are back. Goalkeeper Delaney Johnson, halfback Sarah Hacker, forward Alexis Clynes, fullback Michelle Howe (returns from 2017-18 season-ending knee injury) and fullback Julien Sarno are all juniors, and each of them will start. Forward Hailey Denman and fullback Kayla Lindquist, both sophomores, and freshman center back Abby Platt are first stringers, too.
Freshman forward/midfielder Marlin Gonzalez, freshman Emily Alvarez and freshman midfielder Bria Coleman are in the starting mix as well. Sophomore Alissa Berry could suit up at striker.
“We’re going to look for goal production from everybody up top [on the field],” Sterling said.
Sterling hasn’t determined who else will crack the starting lineup, and he said that he might not announce his final decision until Tuesday night. The Bears plan to play a simulated game on Monday.
“If we can learn enough soon enough, and learn how to handle games and how to control the things that we can control, then we should be OK,” Sterling added.
Denman, Hacker and Johnson will serve as Bradshaw Mountain’s co-captains.
“This is as big a test for them as it is for me or anybody else, because they’ve got to learn how to lead an entire team that has very little experience,” Sterling said.
In 2017, Bradshaw Mountain finished third in the seven-member Grand Canyon region, behind unbeaten league champion and 4A state runner-up Flagstaff, and league runner-up and state semifinalist Prescott.
“I’m sure that Flag and Prescott will be dominant – they always are,” Sterling said. “It’s been that way for as long as I’ve been around. We’ve got to do what we can do, and just play our game.”
2018-19 Bradshaw Mountain Girls Soccer Schedule
Date Opponent Time
11/27 at Arcadia 6 p.m.
12/4 Cortez 5 p.m.
12/6 at Moon Valley 6 p.m.
12/11 St. Mary’s 5 p.m.
12/13 at Cactus 6 p.m.
12/17 Deer Valley 5 p.m.
1/10 Coconino^ 5 p.m.
1/15 at Flagstaff^ 3 p.m.
1/17 Lee Williams^ 5 p.m.
1/22 Mingus^ 5 p.m.
1/24 at Mohave^ 6 p.m.
1/29 Prescott^ 3 p.m.
^ 4A Grand Canyon region matches
All home matches at Pavlich Field, Prescott Valley
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.