Three season-ending knee injuries before the season has begun.
Another starter beginning the season on a two-week, seven-game suspension because of what coach Doug Borgel called “a school issue last year” that is forcing a shuffling of players out of position.
A roster that isn’t complete for every game because of players continuing their club ball schedule during the school year.
Is anybody feeling sorry for Bishop Gorman yet?
The Gaels don’t think so, and they’re not feeling sorry for themselves. There’s no time for that with a quest for an NIAA winning streak record and third straight Class 4A girls state soccer championship on the line this season.
Gorman claimed the title last season with a 28-0 record and No. 7 national ranking by USA Today — the same ranking they have this preseason — on the heels of winning its final 17 games of 2017.
That 45-game winning streak has the Gaels five away from the state record of 50, set by Truckee from 1996 to 1998.
“I wouldn’t say we’re always 24/7 talking about it, but it’s definitely something we keep in the back of our minds,” junior Samantha Nieves said. We want to beat that streak and just keep it going. We look at it as motivation, because we can’t lose this streak.”
They know it won’t be easy.
The Gaels have made their mark as an offensive juggernaut in the past. Their 153 goals last season were a Class 4A state record and followed seasons in which they scored 120 in 2017, fourth all time, and 136 in 2016, which is second.
But 64 of those goals last season came from Ashtyn Fink and Giana Gourley, who both have graduated.
Part of the prolific offensive output is attributable to sheer talent and some of the credit goes to Borgel’s offensive-minded coaching style.
“I still think we have a lot of offense and people that can score goals,” Borgel said. “It’s just going to be new kids that have to take chances and take advantage of their opportunities. Defensively I’d say we’re as good as we’ve been in the past, which is solid, not fantastic. I’m the type of coach that would rather beat you 10-9 than 1-0. I think teams have more of a problem slowing us down than we do slowing them down.”
One player who rarely has been slowed is Jaden Terrana. The senior forward had 21 goals and 21 assists last season and is on pace to become the Gaels’ all-time leading scorer (goals and assists). She’s already tied for second in 4A history with 53 assists, four behind former Gorman standout Hannah Borgel.
“Going into my senior year, that’s really exciting because it’s pushing me over the edge,” Terrana said. “I want to reach that goal by a mile so nobody can catch up to me. That’s the goal.”
Bishop Gorman also will benefit from having versatile players such as Camden Berry, who received honorable mention on last year’s all-state team.
Berry said she plays forward for her club team, but she was moved to center back and is now playing a defensive midfield position. She didn’t play for Gorman before last season, having chosen to play only club ball, but said the environment she found made it easy to see why the record streak is at the Gaels’ fingertips.
“I don’t think it’s as much of getting the record as what it symbolizes, which is years of hard work,” Berry said. “Academically and athletically we’ve all put in and become a team. It shows that what we’ve put in to make it a family has paid off. (Last year) was so much fun, and the family they’ve built here is unbelievable. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
Teams to watch
Bishop Gorman: The Gaels have won 45 straight games, including all 28 last year en route to their second consecutive 4A state title.
Coronado: The Cougars came the closest to handing Bishop Gorman a loss in the regional final with a 2-2 tie that was decided by a 4-2 margin in a shootout.
Palo Verde: Looking for more after getting hot late in the year to reach the state semifinals.
Faith Lutheran: Coming off a 20-win season, will get shot at Bishop Gorman on Tuesday.
Western: Went 14-6 and reached the state semifinals.
Pahrump Valley: Made the state semifinals and finished 17-5.
Players to watch
Quincy Bonds, Centennial: The All-Southern Nevada team selection had 17 goals and six assists as a junior.
Amani Felipe, Sierra Vista: The forward burst onto the scene as a freshman with 23 goals and six assists to earn All-Southern Nevada honors.
Amber Mallas, Arbor View: The sophomore had 16 goals and nine assists in her rookie campaign and was selected to the All-Southern Nevada team.
Jaden Terrana, Bishop Gorman: The Gaels’ top returning player from an undefeated 4A state championship team finished with 21 goals and 21 assists to earn an All-Southern Nevada nod.
Mya Wilson, Arbor View: The defender showed she also could help on offense as a sophomore with a goal and four assists.