Typically new players to a varsity roster are talented freshmen or promoted from junior varsity. But some teams, like Coronado girls soccer, gets a boost from club players.
It worked last season when junior forward Jensen Boman, who had never played high school soccer, decided to play for the Cougars instead of her club team. All she did was lead the team in goals and assists and helped carry the team to its fourth consecutive Sunrise Region title.
This year the Cougars hope for a similar jolt from former club player and senior midfielder Makenna Curcuru, who will play her first high school game when the Cougars open their season Friday at the Howell Memorial Tournament in Reno.
“I know we always come close to making it to state, so I think that’s a goal for everybody on this team, including me,” Curcuru said. “Representing your school is a lot different than playing for your club.”
Curcuru joins a squad with an established culture of success. The Cougars have reached the region title game the past 10 seasons and have been state runners-up two of the past three years.
As it did last year, the Cougars’ offense will rely on Boman. She and junior midfielder Katelyn Moxley were named honorable mention all-state, but no one scored quite like Boman. Her 17 goals outpaced the next-best Cougar by seven, and she had three more assists than the No. 2.
“Last year was fun because it was my first year playing high school, so I kind of got a feel for it,” Boman said. “Now that I have a feel for it, I want to improve more.”
It’s not just club players because Coronado can develop its own talent just fine. Rachel Morris led Southern Nevada with 13½ shutouts last season, and while most teams wouldn’t be able to replace that sort of production, Coronado is not most teams.
Sophomore Taylor Book will step in after a freshman season in which she recorded 5½ clean sheets, tied for 10th-best in Southern Nevada. And, according to coach Dana Neel, Book might be better than her predecessor.
“I expect, what’s the opposite of a drop-off, an increase,” Neel said. “When you put her on the field, suddenly she talks, and she directs everybody and she did that as a freshman and now she knows it’s her time and this is her team for the next three years.”
The goal is a state championship. But to do that, the Cougars will need to dethrone Arbor View, the team with five straight state championships and ranked 17th nationally. Not to mention the Aggies have booted Coronado from the playoffs the past three seasons.
“We definitely want to go all the way this year,” Boman said. “It’s not just Arbor View. In general, it’s making it all the way there and beating whoever comes along the way.”