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Girls soccer ends season in playoffs after undefeated regular season start

Soccer’s 5-3 regular season record driven by a united team with young stars

Originally published on November 9, 2021 by Anders McAllister (staff reporter)

Sophomore Peyton Nakagawara passes the ball upfield during a preseason game against Mercer Island. The game ended in a 3-1 loss. (Stuart Isset)

Girls soccer has concluded a great season this year, starting with a 5-0 undefeated run before losing several challenging games to top teams towards the end of the regular season. After a triumphant playoff victory followed by two challenging losses, the team’s 2021 campaign has come to a close. The season was dominated by two themes: the development and prominence of young stars and the revived bonding of the team. 

Sophomore Peyton Nakagawara is one standout player on the team, frequently influencing all areas of the game with consistent passing and tackling abilities that make her a key element in the midfield. 

Varsity team captain Ani Haug gives Nakagawara praise for her play this season.

“She’s so incredible. Her ball skills, she can just dribble past anyone and she’s so fast,” Haug said.

In terms of her personal and team goals, she had her sights set high. Her goal for the season was clear. 

“To make it to playoffs,” Nakagawara said. “And for me personally, I think it’d be really cool to play college soccer in the future.” 

Sophomore Reese Carlisle is also an eye-catching offender, leading the team’s offense in goals and assists. Carlisle and Nakagawara play for the same club team, Seattle United’s Girls 2007 ECNL. 

On her own, Carlisle has had a fantastic season, credited with frequent goals and assists while primarily playing from the right wing. She is also a sophomore and second-year player on the team. Speaking of her own performances, she feels good about the progress she’s made so far this year.

“I think I’ve definitely improved, and I’ve gotten more confident in how I can play. I definitely work harder,” Carlisle said.

Haug gives plenty of credit to Carlise too for her impact this season. “She’s one of our leading scorers, she has the best shots and is just incredible down the sideline,” Haug said. 

Beyond just the impressive performances led by Nakagawara and Carlisle, the team as a whole has improved, particularly off the field.

“I think we’ve been able to bond a lot more because we’re all in school together. We know the people who are in our grade on the team, and we’re able to hang out with them at school, rather than last year where it would be outside of school or after practice,” Nakagawara said. 

As the girls achieved their goal and headed to playoffs, Haug reflected on the whole team’s performance through the regular season, saying she was happy with the results. 

“I thought [the season] was one of the strongest performances since I’ve been on the team the last four years, ‘’ Haug said. “We had a tough last couple of games and I think it just had to do with the schedule, but I’m so proud of them.” 

 The team is prepared to continue in a positive direction moving forward thanks to the young and improving talent like Nakagawara and Carlisle that will be leading the team in future years. 

“There’s a lot of good players and good potential on our team, so I’m really excited for the next season,” Carlisle said. “I think we can only improve.”

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Girls soccer ends season in playoffs after undefeated regular season start