Whittell girls soccer ready to defend Div. III state championship with new coaches | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell girls soccer ready to defend Div. III state championship with new coaches

Anthony Gentile
The Whittell girls soccer team enters the 2015 season as defending Div. III state champions.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

2015 Regular Season Schedule

Aug. 29 Hug Tournament

Sept. 4-5 Quincy Tournament

*Sept. 11 vs. West Wendover, 4 p.m.

*Sept. 12 vs. White Pine, Noon

*Sept. 16 at North Tahoe, 4 p.m.

*Sept. 18 vs. Battle Mountain, 4 p.m.

*Sept. 19 vs. Pershing County, 11 a.m.

*Sept. 22 at Incline, 4 p.m.

Sept. 25 vs. Hug, 4 p.m.

*Oct. 2 at Yerington, 4 p.m.

*Oct. 9 at West Wendover, TBD

*Oct. 10 at White Pine, TBD

*Oct. 14 vs. North Tahoe, 4 p.m.

*Oct. 16 at Battle Mountain, 11 a.m.

*Oct. 17 at Pershing County, 11 a.m.

*Oct. 20 vs. Incline, 4 p.m.

Oct. 23 vs. Quincy, 4 p.m.

*Oct. 27 at Yerington, 2 p.m.

*Div. III match

Home matches in bold

Before the start of the 2015 season, the Whittell girls soccer team almost lost the chance to defend its Div. III state championship. Now that the Warriors have a coach, they’re focused on defending the crown.

“We were fundraising all summer just in case we got coaches, and we finally did. It turns out they’re great,” Whittell senior defender Daria Sharon said. “We definitely trust them.”

After leading Whittell to the Div. III state title in 2014, Patrick Kelly stepped down to spend more time with his family and infant triplets. And until recently the Warriors didn’t have a coach, which threatened to cancel the 2015 season.

Enter Stephanie Shamo, who moved to the South Shore from Las Vegas this summer and heard about the job from one of her patients at Barton Health. Shamo will coach the Warriors’ girls team assisted by her partner and volunteer Nick Arbelaez — and both will work in conjunction with boys head coach David Caputo this season.

“We’ve been prepping and I think we’re ready for a great season.”Daria SharonWarriors senior

“They’re very experienced coaches; they’ll know where to put us and they’re doing a great job communicating with us and also asserting their authority,” Warriors senior midfielder Kate Krolicki said.

Shamo began coaching soccer 15 years ago, and she was an assistant coach at the high school level in Arizona before coaching club soccer in Las Vegas. She said she is looking forward to the opportunity to coach girls again.

“It’s nice being back on the girls side. I like the girls style,” Shamo said. “It’s a different style of play and practice, and we’re building into that.”

In a volunteer capacity, Arbelaez brings a decade of high-level coaching experience to both the girls and boys programs at Whittell. Currently an assistant coach for the Lake Tahoe Community College men’s team and a coach with Barcelona NorCal on the club level, he coached high school in California, Nevada and Utah — including two state titles in three seasons with Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas).

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Arbelaez said. “We’re not trying to win state by rushing through these games— we have to progressively get better and find consistency.”

Sharon and Krolicki are the lone seniors on this year’s team, and both have led the Warriors early on. Each of the seniors started on last year’s state championship squad and were happy to embrace a leadership role this season.

“We’re both naturally leaders and we’ve been pushing the team through the years,” said Sharon, the reigning Div. III State Defensive MVP. “It comes naturally to us and now we just have the official title.”

Whittell’s talented core of returning players includes juniors Ali Copsy, Samantha Forvilly, Madison Idso and Gigi Stetler. The Warriors will begin the season trying out different formations and styles of play — Arbelaez said a 4-2-3-1 might suit the team best.

“We have strong defenders, strong midfielders, strong forwards and a good goalie,” Sharon said. “We’re good on all parts of the field.”

The Warriors spent an abridged offseason mainly focused on conditioning and ball skills. And they have been doing so with uptempo, high-intensity training sessions.

“The intensity is exactly what we need if we want to keep up the level of play,” Krolicki said.

Whittell opens its season Saturday, Aug. 29, with tournament play at Hug (Reno, Nev.). The Warriors will play five games with 30-minute halves. Whittell travels to Quincy, Calif.. for a tournament the following weekend, and makes its home debut Sept. 11 against West Wendover at 4 p.m.

“We’ve been prepping and I think we’re ready for a great season,” Sharon said. “We want to repeat as state champs.”

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