On the field, there were improvements shown for the Astoria girls soccer team in 2016. On paper, the highlights were few and far between.
Their 1-0 nonleague win over Rainier early in the season was Astoria’s first victory over someone other than Tillamook in three years; and a 1-1 tie against Banks Oct. 20 highlighted the league season.
Unfortunately, still no playoffs, and the goals were still hard to come by for the Lady Fishermen.
Outside of the 11 goals Astoria scored in two wins against Tillamook, the one goal vs. Rainier and the 1-1 tie against Banks represented the only other scores for the Fishermen, who were outscored 35-0 in their nine losses.
No one said life in the Conference of Champions was going to be easy.
Last year’s tie vs. Banks was big, but the jinx is still there — no league wins for Astoria over any team but Tillamook since 2013.
The Cowapa is a tough league, as first-year coach Tim Fastabend found last season.
“The tough part is playing Valley Catholic and Scappoose,” he said. “I think they only lost two or three seniors each.”
Scappoose has won two state titles over the last four years, and Valley Catholic has played in four state championship games over the last five years. North Valley defeated Valley Catholic 2-1 in last year’s 4A title game.
And the Valiants and Indians “are probably stronger than they were last year,” Fastabend said. “A number of those girls play year-round, which is something we don’t have.”
Still, the Lady Fish are hoping to be competitive in all games.
“We had a couple games against Seaside that could have gone either way,” Fastabend said. “And with Lexi (Law) in goal, she saves a couple goals every game. If we can figure out how to go forward, we may have a little more offensive power this year, score some goals and be in a couple games.”
The Lady Fish
“We have to replace a lot of seniors,” Fastabend said. “We have some juniors who have been with the varsity for three years. We have Lexi Law back, and that gives us a strong back end. Claire Albright, Sarah Lertora, Haley Ranta, Hannah McCarley — the senior group is pretty good.
“This will be the third varsity year for Andrea Harris; we have a couple sophomores and we’re bringing in three freshmen. We have a good class mix.”
That mix includes seniors Jasmin Mabry and Megan Schacher, and junior Samantha Messing. Stepping up to varsity are sophomores Taileigh Cole and Libby Whitsett, while freshmen Elle Esplien and Hayley Kelley will see action at the varsity level.
“It’s a fairly athletic team,” Fastabend said. “We’re not strong technically, but they have a good attitude and can get up and down the field. We had kind of a weak summer turnout, so it might take us three weeks to get up to speed, but the girls seem enthusiastic and willing to work hard.”
ASTORIA GIRLS SOCCER
Coach: Tim Fastabend, 2nd year
2016: 3-9-2 (2-6-2 Cowapa)
All-League losses: Jenna Rudolph; Rachel Simmons
All-League returners: None