High School Soccer

They’ve been standouts for four years, so why shouldn’t they be named All-NWC MVPs?

Squalicum midfielder Kendra Steele, left, was selected the 2016 All-Northwest Conference Offensive Most Valuable Player, while Meridian goalkeeper Sydney Gospodinovich was selected the league’s Defensive MVP.
Squalicum midfielder Kendra Steele, left, was selected the 2016 All-Northwest Conference Offensive Most Valuable Player, while Meridian goalkeeper Sydney Gospodinovich was selected the league’s Defensive MVP. The Bellingham Herald

For the better part of the past four years, nobody has done it better in Whatcom County than Squalicum midfielder Kendra Steele and Meridian goalkeeper Sydney Gospodinovich.

The Northwest Conference girls soccer coaches confirmed that when they released their All-Northwest Conference selections late Monday, naming Steele the league’s Offensive Most Valuable Player and Gospodinovich its Defensive MVP.

Neither player is a stranger to the All-NWC list. Gospodinovich was a first-team selection as a freshman in 2013 and a second-team pick in 2014. Steele was a second-team pick as a freshman while playing for Bellingham and a first-team selection last year as a junior with the Storm.

This year, Steele was likely the league’s most well-rounded player, as she had four multiple-goal games, a three-assist game and helped the Storm post nine shutouts and win the NWC title before seeing its bid to win a third straight state title end in the 3A Northwest District Tournament.

Gospodinovich helped the Trojans tie for third in the Northwest Conference standings and advance to the Class 1A state quarterfinals – the furthest any NWC team went this fall. She had seven shutouts and helped Meridian limit opponents to 1.2 goals per game.

Steele was joined on the first team by defender Olivia Benner and forward Payton Fowler.

Lynden wrapped up its most successful girls soccer season in program history, which included its first trip to state, with three players selected to the first team: forward Sierra Smith, midfielder Peyton Fullner and defender Ali VanZanten.

Joining VanZanten and Benner on the first-team defense were Sehome’s Maddy Hooker and Ferndale’s Alex McBeath, while Ferndale’s Rachel Neher was the first-team goalkeeper.

The first-team midfield included Fullner, Anacortes’ Morgan Drawdy, Bellingham’s Kayla Heidenreich, Lynden Christian’s Libby Hielkema and Burlington-Edison’s Delaney Watson.

First-team forward selections included Fowler, Smith, Sehome’s Hannah Moore and Anacortes’ Gabby Ronngren.

Whatcom County second-team selections were Bellingham’s Eden Fawcett; Ferndale’s Jazzy Ahrens, Paige Devine, Kate Neher and Christiana Salinas; Meridian’s Payton Lunde, Mali Mack, Miceala Pimento and Ryley Zapien; Mount Baker’s Molly Lynch; and Sehome’s Christina Funk.

2016 All-Northwest Conference Girls Soccer Team

Offensive Most Valuable Player: Kendra Steele, Squalicum, Sr.

Defensive Most Valuable Player: Sydney Gospodinovich, Meridian, Sr.

Coach of the Year: Carlos Melendez, Lynden

First team

Player

School

Pos.

Yr.

Olivia Benner

Squalicum

D

Jr.

Morgan Drawdy

Anacortes

MF

Sr.

Payton Fowler

Squalicum

F

Sr.

Peyton Fullner

Lynden

MF

Sr.

Kayla Heidenreich

Bellingham

MF

Sr.

Libby Hielkema

Lynden Christiain

MF

So.

Maddy Hooker

Sehome

D

Sr.

Alex McBeath

Ferndale

D

Jr.

Hannah Moore

Sehome

F

So.

Rachel Neher

Ferndale

GK

Jr.

Gabby Ronngren

Anacortes

F

So.

Sierra Smith

Lynden

F

Jr.

Ali VanZanten

Lynden

D

So.

Delaney Watson

Burlington-Edison

MF

Sr.

Second team

Player

School

Pos.

Yr.

Jazzy Ahrens

Ferndale

F

Sr.

Della Babcock

Sedro-Woolley

MF

Jr.

Paige Devine

Ferndale

MF

Jr.

Eden Fawcett

Bellingham

D

So.

Christina Funk

Sehome

MF

Sr.

Jenny Gustafson

Burlington-Edison

GK

Jr.

Payton Lunde

Meridian

F

Sr.

Molly Lynch

Mount Baker

D

Sr.

Mali Mack

Meridian

D

So.

Kate Neher

Ferndale

F

Sr.

Miceala Pimento

Meridian

F

Sr.

Christiana Salinas

Ferndale

MF

Sr.

Lexy Watson

Burlington-Edison

D

So.

Ryley Zapien

Meridian

MF

Sr.

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