South Kitsap graduated nine players off one of its best girls soccer teams in school history.
Just don’t tell first-year coach Christina Boddie that means her team is faced with a rebuilding season.
“I wouldn’t say rebuilding,” she said. “I would say adding.”
That is because the Wolves always seem to have an abundance of talent. Consider that recent graduates, such as Becca Schoales (Washington) and Bri Smallidge (Seattle), compete at major universities.
And Boddie sees no shortage of ability with the latest squad.
“They’re all capable of playing at a high level,” she said. “They distribute the ball well; they take on players well. They’re just a strong team with a lot of potential.”
Senior center-midfielder Ari de la Cruz shared similar sentiments.
“We have a lot of potential and we’re going to build up to where we were last year,” she said.
That team advanced to the second round of the Class 4A state tournament for the fifth time in program history, where they suffered a 2-0 loss Nov. 15 against Jackson at Everett Memorial Stadium. The Wolves finished with a 13-3-0 record.
Much has changed since then.
The 23-year-old Boddie, a 2010 South graduate, succeeded Julie Cain, who resigned after six seasons. She played her final year of high school soccer — where she was selected as the 2009 4A Narrows co-MVP — under Cain and then was an assistant last fall. Cain, who initially stepped down in spring 2014 as she prepared for the arrival of her third child, supported Boddie as her successor, even dubbing her former pupil as the squad’s “co-coach” at times.
“She’s a great leader and just a dynamic personality,” Cain said. “She’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached.”
Boddie, who played for three coaches at South, said an important aspect of turnover is to avoid discussions about the past.
“Comparison will ruin you,” she said. “You need to think about this year.”
One crucial element toward achieving success, Boddie said, will be the ability for returning players to blend with newcomers.
Even with the Wolves’ graduation losses, they return five seniors — defender Kendra Biewald, midfielders de la Cruz, Kayleanna Quichocho and Andie Rogers and forward Sarah Parkinson.
“We’re just focusing on becoming a team and growing together,” Boddie said.
Mikaela Morey, a junior defender, thinks that might require some time, but said the team’s chemistry is strong.
“We have a lot of new players and we’re learning how to work together,” she said.
For competitive reasons, Boddie declined to discuss the system she will run, but said it will play to the team’s strengths. In particular, she said the Wolves possess quickness.
De la Cruz expanded on that.
“I think some of our strengths are going to be possessing the ball and really working together as a team,” she said.
In addition to the seniors and Morey, South also returns junior forward Ashlan Burris and midfielder Kelly Crebs.
One position where the Wolves do not return experience is in the net. But Boddie does not think that matters with freshman Megan Nail.
“She’s just a phenomenal goalkeeper,” she said. “She has great fundamentals.”
De la Cruz uses similar platitudes to describe her coach as the team approaches their Sept. 15 4A Narrows League opener against Olympia.
“Christina helped out last year, so she knows about how we work here,” de la Cruz said. “She’s going to be great.”