Stefani Crocker is girls soccer MVP

The girls soccer team named Stefani Crocker the most valuable player at the team’s annual sports dessert on Nov. 17.

Sarah Winslow received the Coach’s Award. Kierya Shreves earned the Hustle Award.

Shreves was named to the second-team all-conference. Amber Erickson received honorable mention.

“We’ve improved tons,” Coach Eric Markell said. “That’s what I hoped for, and I was really surprised by how much we improved from the conference jamboree.”

The team finished 1-9, but loss margins were typically smaller this year, Coach Markell said. At the same time, the team finished last, something it has not done before; and the team was defeated by Gervais, a team it has typically beaten in the past.

The Huskies one win was against South Salem.

The team played some of its best ball against the conference leader, Blanchett. Last year, Blanchett defeated the Huskies 9-0. This year, the loss margin was 5-0.

“It was nice to play with them and not have their coach quit shooting or require 10 passes before the goal,” Coach Markell said. The league’s top teams, like Sisters, have had girls playing together since they were small children, and it’s hard to compete against that.

“I think it’s going to be a long time before we have a winning season,” Coach Markell said. “I think we took steps in the right direction,” but he would like to schedule more games against similar, newer teams.

The Huskies did play Stayton, which is in a similar situation, and lost, Coach Markell said, but those games were not the Huskies at their best.

“It seems like the worse the team was the worse we played,” Coach Markell said, and the better the team, the better the Huskies played, though not enough to overcome the top teams.

The team had a number of new players, who had no soccer experience, Coach Markell said, but many of the girls, such as Erickson, picked up on the game quickly.

“Hopefully, next year, we don’t have to start over with the basics,” Coach Markell said. The team has no seniors this year, and he hopes all of the girls return to the team next year, so it can build on what it’s learned already.

Coach Markell has watched the eighth-grade teams this year. Several of the players were pretty good, he said, and another Helfrich is coming up. He would like to see next year’s freshmen go out for soccer and boost the team’s numbers to 18 or 19.

Coach Markell is encouraging his team to play indoor soccer and keep working in the off season in preparation for next season.

Earning letters were Emily Dascomb, Kierya Shreves, Becky Sanchez, Larissa Bjornsen, Michelle Buhn, Jill Wilson, Stefani Crocker, Kristen Ward, Janessa Van Epps, Amber Erickson, Michelle Aerni, Olivia Lake and Bethany Emmert.