Whittell girls soccer enters 2016 season with concentrated talent on small roster
Whittell Girls Soccer 2016 Schedule
Aug. 30 at North Tahoe L 3-2
*Sept. 9 vs. Pershing County, 3 p.m.
*Sept. 10 vs. Battle Mountain, 11 a.m.
*Sept. 13 vs. Dayton, 4 p.m.
*Sept. 14 vs. Fernley, 4 p.m.
*Sept. 20 vs. Yerington, 4 p.m.
Sept. 26 vs. North Tahoe, 5 p.m.
*Sept. 29 at White Pine, 7 p.m.
*Sept. 30 at West Wendover, 2 p.m.
*Oct. 8 at Dayton, 11 a.m.
*Oct. 11 at Yerington, 2 p.m.
*Oct. 18 at Fernley, 4 p.m.
*Oct. 21 at Battle Mountain, 2 p.m.
*Oct. 22 at Pershing County, 11 a.m.
*Oct. 28 vs. West Wendover, 11 a.m.
*Oct. 29 vs. White Pine, 11 a.m.
Home games in bold
*2A Northern League
The Whittell girls soccer team doesn’t have numbers on its side entering the 2016 season. What the Warriors do have is a small roster with concentrated talent — and the expectation to finish their campaign at state.
“We’re all really excited and ready to see what we can do this season,” said senior forward Ali Copsy, who led the team in scoring last year. “We all have a lot of responsibility and we all know that, so I think it’s going to be a good one because we’re ready to step up and do what we need to.”
Whittell came a win away from defending its Div. III State championship last season, falling to North Tahoe in the title game. The Warriors graduated only two seniors from the 2015 edition, and enter this season with talent and experience.
“We have a super strong senior class this year, and the talent is spread among all parts of the field,” Warriors second-year head coach David Caputo said.
That group of seniors includes Copsy in attack, Gigi Stetler in the midfield, Samantha Forvilly at outside back and Madison Idso at sweeper. They anchor what Whittell expects to be a more possession-oriented approach out of a 4-4-2 formation.
“I’ve been playing soccer with them since I was little, so it’s really special,” Forvilly said. “It should be a good season because everyone wants it really bad.”
“We work really well together,” Stetler added.
While Copsy, Stetler and Forvilly are playing familiar roles, Idso changed positions from a season ago. The senior moved from midfield to defense with the aim of solidifying the back line.
“The transition was hard, but once I got there it was fun,” Idso said. “Learning the balance between staying back and pressuring is pretty difficult, but I’m getting there.”
Whittell’s four seniors lead a group of 10 returning players, including juniors Taimani Hussey and Gaby Trachsel along with sophomores Genesis Alvarez, Madison Burch, Alize Hernandez and Anna White. Freshman Kyla Rippet is the program’s only newcomer early on, and will likely play outside back for the Warriors.
“We have a lot of natural talent on the team instead of having to work everyone on everything and every aspect of the game,” Idso said. “They just naturally have it.”
Whittell opened its season with a 3-2 loss at North Tahoe on Tuesday, Aug. 30, in a rematch of last year’s state championship. White scored two goals off assists from Copsy in a back-and-forth first half, but the Lakers struck in the second half to break a 2-2 tie and prevail.
“The biggest thing is going to be our fitness levels,” Caputo said. “In our scrimmages, it really put in perspective for the ladies where they’re at and where they need to be.”
Keeping overall fitness and staying healthy are the main keys for the Warriors to have a successful campaign. Barring an in-season addition, Whittell will have only one substitute on a game-by-game basis.
“Trying to stay fit and being able to play that 80-minute game — we have to have that to make our way to state,” Forvilly said. “It’s way more of a challenge than it has been the past couple of years.”
For a team that made the state playoffs each of the past five seasons, doing so for a sixth straight year will also be a challenge due to soccer-specific realignment. Class 2A Northern League now features Dayton and Fernley in place of North Tahoe and Incline, and will join with larger schools from Class 3A in the regional playoffs.
“It doesn’t change too much until we get to the end of the season there,” said Caputo, who believes Whittell will contend for a league title along with the two new schools and White Pine. “We may not be playing the same teams, but we’ll have the same type of competition.”
Whittell opens league play Friday, Sept. 9, against Pershing County at 3 p.m. to start an unbalanced slate. The Warriors play six straight home games before a stretch of seven in a row on the road — then finish with two games in Zephyr Cove.
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