The Owls are undefeated and winning by a large margin this season. If they keep it up, it could be the first time the school claims Emerald City League and possibly state titles.
Just who is the hottest high school girls soccer team in the state of Washington?
The Overlake School Owls are the ones making the most noise, doing so in some anonymity as a Class 1A private school in the Emerald City League (ECL).
The more the Owls win, the more they are calling attention to themselves.
“We’re going to be competitive when we step onto the field,” said Overlake coach Sally Goodspeed, who is in her 14th year as coach. “This is just a really focused group and they get along well. That’s a recipe for success. But this is a young team and the bulk of my team is sophomores.
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“A total of 12 of the 20 players on varsity are sophomores, but there’s some balance with other classes.”
That means the future should continue to be bright two more seasons after 2016.
Teams outside the ECL should listen and take notice of Overlake’s hot start. The non-sectarian, co-ed, college preparatory school located in Redmond surely deserves to be watched after opening the season 7-0-0 with 21 points atop the ECL.
The Owls are 12-0-0 overall having plowed through an early-season schedule featuring six teams which qualified for the Class 1A state tournament last season, including defending state champion Seattle Christian. Overlake hasn’t just won in most of those 12 matches, outscoring foes 55-4 with 10 shutouts.
“We wanted to schedule some teams who were in state last year and did well to see where we measured up,” said Goodspeed, who was an assistant for four seasons before taking over the program in 2003. “Plus our league is really strong, especially with Seattle Academy and University Prep being so good in the last decade.
“Playing those programs is a good measuring stick.”
Overlake also has beaten ECL powers University Prep and Seattle Academy this season and the Owls are on the way to claiming their first ECL regular-season title in school history. They are also looking for their first league crowns since taking Chinook League titles in 2000 and 2001.
The Owls turned back visiting University Prep 4-3 on an 80th-minute scramble goal in front of the net from sophomore forward Janna Basra on Sept. 13. On Sept. 20, Overlake opened a 2-0 cushion and hung on to beat defending ECL champ Seattle Academy 2-1.
“We felt positive coming into this season,” Goodspeed said. “We really turned things around in a year’s time. Two years ago, we had just two wins. We had 12 wins last season, and we wanted to see if we could improve on that this fall.”
Four matches remain on the Owls’ league slate and two of those are on the road against ECL powers University Prep (Oct. 18) and Seattle Academy (Oct. 25) in the regular-season finale.
“We have two big tests left,” Goodspeed said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
The Owls have been getting strong contributions from many players, but All-ECL first-team selections Alex Hobbs and Jaquelin Nordhoff have returned to their all-star form of 2015.
Hobbs, a sophomore forward, has tallied 11 goals and three assists and Nordhoff, a sophomore defensive midfielder, has supplied six goals and five assists.
Nordhoff, ECL Rookie of the Year in 2015, put up two goals and an assist in the 4-3 win over UPrep.
“She’s kind of like the glue on our team,” Goodspeed said. “She connects our midfielders and forwards. She’s just a reliable, solid player.”
The Owls are led in scoring by freshman Smith Hunter, who has 12 goals and seven assists for 31 points. The defense is anchored by outside back Kate McConnell, a junior who leads the team with six assists, and senior goalkeeper Julia Noble, who has been part of all 10 clean sheets.
Senior midfielder Taylor Olson has added five goals and four assists.
“I have a team of kids that I’d love to recognize from one through 20,” Goodspeed said. “They are all so great.”
The Overlake program has been a state runner-up three times – 2001, 2009 and 2010 – in 1A, but never a champion. The Owls are chasing the four titles each of league rivals University Prep (2013, 2012, 2004, 2000) and Seattle Academy (2011, 2009, 2008, 2005).
Goodspeed would use coach speak to tell you “first things first.”
“I’ve always been a one game, one day at a time coach and I project that as our team mantra,” she said. “We’re not looking ahead. We are mostly focusing on our league and being competitive.”
So far, so good.
Regional, national rankings
Two teams from Washington state – Seattle Prep at No. 10 and Issaquah at No. 14 — remained in the Top 25 of the national rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Three teams from Washington state start in NSCAA’s Region VI Top-15 poll, led by Seattle Prep (No. 2), Issaquah (No. 3) and Skyline (No. 11). The link below is for the Region VI in Week 5 (Oct. 4):
Three teams from Washington state – Issaquah (No. 6), Seattle Prep (No. 17) and Skyline (No. 20) – are in the Fall FAB 50 High School Girls Soccer Rankings from Oct. 11 put out by topdrawersoccer.com.
Here are The Seattle Times 2016 rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A for the week of Oct. 10:
1, Issaquah (9-0-1)
2, Kentridge (7-0-2)
3, Skyline (8-0-2)
4, Camas (10-0-1)
5, Mead (Spokane) (10-1-1)
6, Lake Stevens (9-1-0)
7, Beamer (8-1-1)
8, Puyallup (9-0-2)
9, Kennedy Catholic (6-1-3)
10, Kamiak (7-1-2)
On the bubble: Central Valley (Spokane) (7-2-0), Jefferson (6-2-0), Kentwood (5-3-2), Tahoma (7-3-0), Woodinville (7-3-1), Eastlake (5-4-1), West Valley (Yakima) (9-2-0), Wenatchee (7-4-0), Davis (Yakima) (7-4-0), Gonzaga Prep (Spokane) (7-4-0), Auburn Riverside (6-3-1), Jackson (5-2-3), Skyview (Vancouver) (4-2-2), Union (Vancouver) (7-4-0), Hanford (8-3-0).
1, Seattle Prep (12-0-0)
2, Gig Harbor (10-0-0)
3, Southridge (Kennewick) (11-1-0)
4, Bellevue (8-0-2)
5, Marysville-Getchell (8-1-1)
6, Ferndale (9-1-1)
7, Stadium (7-1-1)
8, Edmonds-Woodway (7-1-4)
9, Squalicum (8-1-2)
10, Lakeside (9-2-1)
On the bubble: Arlington (8-2-1), Bishop Blanchet (6-2-3), Kamiakin (Kennewick) (8-4-0), Bethel (6-0-3), Stanwood (7-2-3), Roosevelt (6-5-0), Garfield (6-1-1), Holy Names (7-5-0), Lake Washington (7-2-1), Wilson (Tacoma) (7-2-2), Central Kitsap (6-2-2), Yelm (6-3-1), Kelso (6-2-3), Ballard (7-4-0), Shorecrest (6-2-3), Redmond (5-2-3), Prairie (7-3-0).
1, Fife (10-0-0)
2, Tumwater (10-1-0)
3, Black Hills (10-1-0)
4, Olympic (10-1-0)
5, Ridgefield (9-2-1)
6, Sehome (9-2-0)
7, East Valley (Spokane) (8-2-0)
8, Cheney (9-2-0)
9, Prosser (8-3-1)
10, White River (7-1-2)
On the bubble: Burlington (6-3-2), Cedarcrest (7-2-3), Selah (9-2-1), Hockinson (7-3-0), R.A. Long (6-4-0), Liberty (Issaquah) (5-2-3), Ellensburg (6-5-1), Othello (8-3-1), Sequim (7-3-0), North Kitsap (6-3-1), Franklin Pierce (6-3-1), Columbia River (6-3-1).