By Ray Hamill — Like with many small school sports programs, it’s difficult to know for sure whether Ferndale High will be able to field a girls soccer team year to year.
The numbers game is always a concern and prevented the Cats from competing in the sport in 2019.
This year, however, thanks in large part to the players’ commitment, the Cats were able to field a team in the spring and in the fall, and while numbers remain a concern for many games, they continue to win that battle.
Head coach Beth Anderson had a healthy 15 players on the roster at the start of the campaign, but lost one to a season-ending injury.
This week, for their final regular season game, they will be without four players who are traveling to the FAA National Convention, leaving the coach with just 10 players to play South Fork, providing everyone is healthy.
But the commitment of the players is evident throughout the team, and that’s why they continue to succeed, including the busy duo of junior Kyla Albee and sophomore Reaghan Langer, each of whom plays both volleyball and soccer.
In the coach’s words, it’s tricky to pull that off, but for a school like Ferndale it can be crucial in order just to field teams in different sports.
Just as impressively, the Wildcats appear to be getting better on the soccer field as the season has progressed.
After losing 6-1 to Little 3 champs St. Bernard’s earlier in the fall, the Cats tied them twice last week, 2-2 and 3-3.
“They’re improving so much,” Anderson said of her players. “I think we were evenly matched with St. Bernard’s. It was a really fun close game. In both games, both teams played a hard-fought physical battle.”
Langer has been a particular bright spot for the team since breaking into the lineup as a freshman in the spring.
Likewise with senior goalkeeper Bella Stephens, who has college-level talent and a big upside between the posts if she chooses to play at the next level.
“They’re going to have a great game for us every game,” Anderson said of Langer and Stephens. “And they really affect the feeling of the game, the tone of the game.”
Seniors Gabby Riley and Malela Fulton each also have played a key role for the team in midfield, as has industrious playmaker Miriam Munoz-Guerrero.
Another sophomore, Regan Russ, also continues to impact the team, wherever she plays.
“We’re trying to use her in midfield to create some offense for us,” Anderson said of Russ, who has played a lot in defense too.
Defender Sydney Smith rounds out a talented senior class that has helped lead the way for the team this season.
The Cats are 2-2-3 in the Little 3 and 2-6-3 overall and are expected to make the NCS playoff field.
Thew Wildcats’ volleyball team, meanwhile, has qualified for the NCS playoffs and will play at North Hills Christian on Wednesday night.