Parity prevails in PVL

Placer, Bear River chasing defending champion Colfax in a league up for grabs
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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The Placer High soccer team has only gotten better since last season’s third place finish in the Pioneer Valley League. The only problem for the Hillgals is the rest of the PVL is also improving rapidly. “I think the race for the third playoff spot could come down to the last game of the season,” Placer coach Steve Cook said. “We just hope we can be there to have a chance.” Placer’s strength is defense. Senior sweeper Kelly Viray is excellent on the back line with juniors Brooke Bendorf and Kayla Lipsmeyer helping the Hillgals’ unit which has surrendered just 13 goals in nine games. Sophomore Karly Kenworthy – fresh off her state skiing title — is also a valuable defender. Offensively, senior Laurel Odom is back to lead the attack. She suffered a torn ACL last season, but is back close to 100 percent for her final high school campaign. “We look for Laurel’s leadership on the field, she always has good insights,” Cook said. “We can’t play her a full 80 minutes yet with her knee, but she’s really a great leader with the way she practices and the way she plays.” Skilled sophomores Emma Obray and Celeste Havener are tied for the team lead with three goals each. Leanna Moneypenny also sees time at forward. The midfield crew welcomed in Logan Burke, a talented transfer from Forest Lake Christian. Junior Laura Nash is a strong playmaker and senior Theresa Meyer adds toughness to the midfield mix. Junior Audrey Furlong has stepped in and played well at goalkeeper despite never playing the position before this season. Placer (3-5-2 overall, 1-3 Pioneer Valley League) played a tough non-league schedule that Cook hopes will have his squad ready for the rigors of the PVL. “El Dorado’s got nine seniors, Colfax is always loaded and Mesa Verde already knocked off Colfax,” Cook said. “Bear River played us really tough and Lincoln definitely has talent. Whitney’s the team to beat, but every game is huge in the PVL.” Colfax Steve Robinson needs no reminder about the pitfalls that await the Colfax High soccer team throughout the Pioneer Valley League schedule. Mesa Verde, which went winless in the PVL last season, stunned Colfax 2-1 last week. The Falcons (7-3-3 overall, 2-1 PVL) are loaded with talent and experience, but realize defending their Pioneer Valley League title will be no easy feat. “It’s always going to be tough it’s a really good league,” Robinson said. “Anybody can beat anybody on any other day.” Colfax has plenty of firepower up front with senior Josie Ruzette and senior Chanel Filteau leading the charge. Ruzette has missed two games with a knee injury and is expected to spend at least six weeks on crutches. Juniors Brittany Talley and Adrienne Van Auker have played well for the Falcons this season and junior Ashley Broussard adds talent to the offensive mix. Senior Piper Lofrano is one of the top midfielders in the PVL and junior Kacey Capuchino has scored a team-leading nine goals this season from her midfield slot. Defensively, senior Courtney Evans is a tremendous leader for Colfax. Senior Katie Cassilagio is a force on defense. Juniors Leah Schafer and Rebecca Bolger are strong in the back and freshman Kate Bianchi has made an immediate impact. Junior goalkeeper Amber Cramer is an anchor, racking up nine shutouts already this season. Bear River The Bruins return every starter from a team that scored only 14 goals in 17 games last season. Bear River has already scored eight goals through three games this year to compile a 1-1-1 record in the PVL. Seniors Liz Jeffries, Taylor Slotte, Erica Lindstrom, Amber Bolt and Sara Lloyd lead the way under first-year head coach Guy Tortorici. “This team has some good potential,” Tortorici said. “Our seniors are all very strong players. I think we have a good chance of going to playoffs. It’s just a matter of them keeping it together emotionally and mentally.”