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San Clemente junior Kira Nemeth sends a pass to a teammate during an offseason practice. Photo: Steve Breazeale
San Clemente junior Kira Nemeth sends a pass to a teammate during an offseason practice. Photo: Steve Breazeale

By Steve Breazeale

Last Season: Finished second in the South Coast League and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.

Players to Watch: Samara Bahu, Sophia Spralja, Lauren Brzykcy and Hailey Laub.

Circle ’em: A tough tournament schedule includes appearances at the Aliso Cup Tournament (12/9-13) and the Mater Dei Premier Tournament (12/19-21). Matches against Capistrano Valley (1/13) and Aliso Niguel (1/29) will have league and playoff implications.

Outlook:

San Clemente girls soccer head coach Stacy Finnerty believes this version of the girls soccer team will be led by a formidable back line defense. The Tritons do not have many returning starters but that is not the case on defense, where goalie Lauren Brzykcy and defenders Samara Bahu and Hailey Laub return.

Laub, an Air Force Academy commit, will play center back and lead a back line Finnerty described as “aggressive and strong”.

After losing leading goal scorers Nikki Faris and Natalie Higgins, who are both playing at Oregon State University, the Tritons will take a team-oriented approach to scoring goals this season. Senior Sophia Spralja and sophomores Amanda Cruz and Morgan Farrier will be players looking to find the back of the net.

The Tritons will have their hands full when it comes time for South Coast League play, which features three top-10 teams in the CIF-SS Division 1 polls. The Tritons enter the season ranked No. 7, behind defending league champion Aliso Niguel, who is ranked fifth. Capistrano Valley is joining the South Coast League and is currently ranked in a tie for 10th.

With only nine players returning to the team, Finnerty believes it might take some time for the Tritons to find their groove. But once they do, Finnerty expects they will continue to play a possession style of soccer that has become their trademark and has produced 10 league titles in her tenure.

“It’s early just learning about them and their talents and where they’re going to fit it. It’s going to take a while,” Finnerty said. “We might take a slower start but with talent we have to pull from I think we’ll be able to compete in league.”

Season Schedule

Date                Opponent                                Location, Time

12/2                   Tesoro                                          SCHS, 6 p.m.

12/9-13             Aliso Cup Tourn.                       TBA, TBA

12/16                 Edison                                         Edison, 5 p.m.

12/19-21           Mater Dei Premier Tourn.       Mater Dei, TBA

12/26-29          Excalibur Tourn.                        Foothill, TBA

1/8*                   Aliso Niguel                                ANHS, 4:30 p.m.

1/13*                 Capistrano Valley                      SCHS, 4:30 p.m.

1/15*                 Mission Viejo                             MVHS, 4:30 p.m.

1/20*                Dana Hills                                  SCHS, 4:30 p.m.

1/29*                Aliso Niguel                               SCHS, 4:30 p.m.

2/3*                  Capistrano Valley                    CVHS, 4:30 p.m.

2/5*                 Mission Viejo                            SCHS, 4:30 p.m.

2/9*                 Dana Hills                                DHHS, 4:30 p.m.

*–denotes league game

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