Warriors eye playoffs in 2006
Unless you play for North Tahoe or Truckee, “confident” usually isn’t a word to describe most teams’ playoff chances in the Nevada 3A Tahoe League. However, Whittell girls’ soccer team coach Lydia von Rumph used that exact word when sizing up this year’s Warriors.
“I think we will challenge better just because the team is older and I have a better handle on the Tahoe League,” von Rumph said. “We’ve scheduled more games outside the league, which will help with our confidence.”
OK, she didn’t quite use confidence and playoffs in the same sentence, but the second-year coach thinks this is clearly a different team than the one that struggled to a winless league campaign in 2005. The Warriors return 10 starters from last year’s team, including leading scorer Sasha Rupp, and also have four potential impact players who were either injured last year or playing for Kingsbury Middle School.
Although seniors Marissa McKool and Natalie Rastello will be Whittell’s captains, freshman Gabbi Traci and Hannah Daly are expected to challenge for starting positions. Daly made the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region IV team this summer and will split time in goal with sophomore Tierney McKool as well as play striker.
In addition to the talented freshmen, previous varsity players Kaitlin Potnick and Megan Alexander are healthy again after injuries sidelined them last year. Rupp, meanwhile, led the team with seven goals and nine assists last year as a freshman.
“I think we look a lot better than last year,” said McKool, who had five goals and 15 assists in 2005 and was an honorable mention all-league selection. “Our two freshman are right up there with all our seniors. Natalie and I have set our goals for the team to not worry about losing and winning.”
Losing appears not to be such a certainty with Whittell’s more forgiving schedule in 2006.
Instead of navigating through previous schedules that only included 3A games against league powers Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline, the Warriors get to play 3A Desert League teams this season. While Truckee and North Tahoe have combined for 10 state titles in the past decade and are reloading again this season, Whittell should have more opportunities for victories against Battle Mountain, Lowry and Spring Creek.
With Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline almost virtual locks for this year’s 3A regional tournament, it once again appears like Sparks and Whittell will battle it out for the fourth-and-final seed into the zone tournament from the Tahoe League. One player who is excited for that challenge is Daly.
“I think it will be fun,” said Daly, whose older sister, Natalie, is a player von Rumph thinks will have a breakout year. “I don’t want to be cocky. I just want to play and give everybody else the credit they deserve. If they need me for something, then I can do whatever.”
Coach: Lydia von Rumph (2nd year)
2005 record: 4-10
Starters returning: 10
Starters lost: 1
Opener: Quincy Tournament, Aug. 25-26
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 25-26 Quincy Tournament TBA
Aug. 29 Truckee 3 p.m.
Sept. 2 Fernley 11 a.m.
Sept. 6 Incline 3 p.m.
Sept. 11 Quincy 3 p.m.
Sept. 16 Battle Mountain 11 a.m.
Sept. 21 North Tahoe 3 p.m.
Sept. 23 Lowry 11 a.m.
Sept. 26 Sparks 3 p.m.
Oct. 3 Truckee 2 p.m.
Oct. 5 Dayton 2 p.m.
Oct. 7 Yerington 11 a.m.
Oct. 10 Incline 2 p.m.
Oct. 16 Quincy 2 p.m.
Oct. 20 Spring Creek 2 p.m.
Oct. 24 North Tahoe 2 p.m.
Oct. 26 Sparks 2 p.m.
Note: Home games are in bold.sdsadf