High School Soccer

Nooksack Valley Pioneers girls’ soccer preview

Coach: Valentin Villalobos

Last year: 1-14-0 overall, 0-12-0 NWC (13th place). Finished with 27 goals against 107 allowed, seeing its season come to an end in the first round of the Class 1A Northwest District tournament with a 5-0 loss to King’s. Lone win came against Friday Harbor 3-2.

Players to watch: Jasmin Zavala (Jr., M), Brittany Passe (Sr., D/M), Ruth Garcia (Sr., M/F), Maria Garcia (Jr., M).

Outlook: Everything starts with defense, and that’s where the Pioneers struggled most last year. Nooksack Valley allowed 107 goals last season in 17 games, 52 more than any other team in the Northwest Conference, and if the Pioneers hope to contend, they’ll have to work on getting more stout in the back. Up front, though, Villalobos has reason for optimism with the return of Zavala, Ruth and Maria Garcia. The chemistry between his leading attackers at times showed through, especially in a tough 4-3 loss to Blaine last season in a conference matchup. If Villalobos can find some stability on defense, it looks like he’ll have girls on offense that can put the ball in the net. Whether it will be enough to pull them out of the NWC cellar remains to be seen.