Of the 19 players on this year’s Women’s Soccer Roster, 13 of them are freshman. Despite this majority of new players however, there is little doubt as to the skill they are bringing to the field. Under the leadership of Coach Tao Shen and Captains Rachel Anderson, Grace Hamilton and Gabby Rodriguez, these young Bulldogs have quelled any fears about their ability.
After their first loss to Edmonds (2-1), they racked up three consecutive victories against Clark College (4-0), Treasure Valley CC (6-2), and Yakima Valley CC (6-2), respectively. Coach Shen is cautiously optimistic about the team’s progress so far. “I think cohesiveness is going to be our big challenge this season. We have a lot of new players on the field right now,” said Coach Shen. Veteran players seem to share this guarded enthusiasm, which has an air of both modesty and sportsmanship.
Captain Hamilton, when asked for comment on the team’s performance, replied, “I think it’s good. It’s a brand new team and there is a lot of skill. People seem to be getting along and you can see that on the field.” Hamilton sprained her ankle on Sept. 15 during the match against Yakima Valley. As a powerful mid-fielder, her presence will certainly be missed in the upcoming games she will have to miss. Her fellow players, while acknowledging this, do not appear overly concerned as they are sure she will soon be back in action.
“Yeah, she is a strong component to mid-field,” said Captain Rodriguez. “It’ll probably affect us; mids are the core of the team, but we hope she gets better soon and it looks like she is.”
Coach Shen believes the team is going to face several tough matches this season. “I would say as far as regional matches, Peninsula (College) and Highline CC will be the toughest. Then from the East there is Columbia Basin College, Walla Walla and Spokane.” Players across the board agreed that the game against Walla Walla will be tough. When asked whom they expected to be a tough match, Players Gabby Rodriguez and Amanda Burnett simultaneously answered “Walla Walla.” Hamilton concurred, “They are very aggressive and talented.”
Tatum Ross, a freshman from Emerald Ridge High School and new to the team, responded, “Well, I’m not too sure, but I have heard a lot about Walla Walla.” Ross also expressed her feelings about being new to the group: “It’s great; the team is really welcoming.” With such rapid adaptation of skilled new players and confident leadership, it looks to be a promising season for Bellevue. The next home game will be Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 2:00 p.m. against Tacoma.