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South title should come through FWay
By CASEY OLSON
The Federal Way girls soccer team surprised a lot of people last year after cruising to the South Puget Sound League South Division regular season title with an unbeaten record. The Eagles were picked to finish in the middle of the pack by the leagues coaches.
Federal Way was eventually knocked out of the playoffs in a penalty-kick shootout by South Kitsap in a West Central/Southwest District game.
But this years team will have a big-time different look for second-year coach Jason Baumgardt. The Eagles roster will feature no seniors and might have some trouble scoring goals.
We are young and talented, Baumgardt said. Its definitely going to be a year to gain experience and build.
Federal Way lost plenty from last years SPSL South championship team, including the Mirrors All-City Player of the Year Mandy Ploskonka. Ploskonka is currently starting in the midfield at the Montana State University-Billings after leading the SPSL last year with 19 points. Also gone are sweeper Tina Ruiz, defender Rachael Christenson, midfielder Megan Price (eight goal, five assists) and Brittany Bennett (eight goals).
Leading the list of returners is junior center midfielder Bree Rowe, who led the Eagles with nine goals last year. Also back for Baumgardt are juniors Cayla Dixon and Ryan Grey and sophomore Kaitlyn Keyes.
A pair of freshmen midfielders Alleah Pac and Paige Emiston should also provide some depth for the Eagles.
The Thomas Jefferson Raiders are one year older and should be one of the teams to beat in the SPSL South. Co-coaches Wayne Nash and Amy Sutherland return 16 of the 18 players from last seasons squad, including a large group of talented juniors.
The Raiders finished the 2004 season with a 4-10-2 overall record, but won or tied six of their last eight matches and were right in the playoff hunt in the SPSL South. Jefferson started the year 0-8-0.
We have a maturing core, Sutherland said. We should compete for a divisional playoff spot.
Leading the long list of returners will be juniors Mel Hicks, Michelle Borth and Kelsey Racicot. As a sophomore, Hicks led the Raiders in scoring with five goals, including two multi-goal games as a forward. Borth and Racicot also were huge factors in the Raiders last-season push. Borth didnt have the best numbers during the season, two goals and one assist, but she was a disruptive force for opposing defenses from her forward position and Racicot tallied three goals.
Jefferson also returns juniors Brittany Creek, Kasie Casteneda, Brittany McKay and Shannon Hilby. Newcomers Liz Fitch and Kelsey Learned should also provide depth.
The biggest weakness the coaching staff sees with the 2005 edition of the Raiders is their lack of playoff experience.
Todd Beamer Titans
The Titans had a solid 2004 after finishing the season 4-6-4 overall and things should only get better this year in the SPSL South Division.
Were a bit older, wiser and ready to compete this year, head coach Carrie Boers said. There are great possibilities for this team.
Beamer returns pretty much every player who saw significant playing time a season ago. Leading the group are sophomore forward Jordan Salisbury, who led