Just like the school she plays for, Meridian girls’ soccer junior Micaela Pimento is small in size. Especially so for a central attacking player.
Also similar to the Trojans, Pimento has found a way to succeed against much bigger players and much bigger schools.
The junior forward has scored in all six games this season — all Meridian wins — tallying nine goals in the process, including a hat trick against Nooksack Valley last Thursday, Sept. 24.
“This season and last season, Micaela was a very strong aggressive player especially for her size. She’s always been kind of that wrecking ball in the central midfield,” Trojans second-year coach Terri Tigert said after a practice Wednesday, Sept. 23. “Losing a couple senior forwards and gaining a bunch of midfielders, it was kind of easy to give Micaela that chance to step up at forward.”
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Pimento is the center of the Trojans offense, a similar role graduated senior Lexi McKinnnon played last year, and is counted on to distribute to wings Payton Lunde and Emily Brackinreed in Meridian’s fast-paced, high-scoring attack.
Replacing a longtime star like McKinnon isn’t easy, Pimento will be the first to admit, but she’s handled it with grace.
“She’s just a really aggressive player so I learned a lot from that,” Pimento said of her now graduated teammate.
The track stars that join her in the offense — Lunde and Brackinreed were part of Meridian’s state championship 4x200 relay last spring — have no complaints with Pimento stepping into McKinnon’s role and have noticed the similar tendencies of the two — both small, gritty players who never stop working.
“I think it was sad losing Lexi but Micaela definitely fits that role,” Brackinreed said. “They both have the same style of play — play hard, play aggressive and play fast. I think she suits the spot pretty well.”
Pimento’s efforts were especially noticed when Class 1A Meridian conquered Class 2A and perennial power Bellingham on Thursday, Sept. 17. Pimento tallied a goal in the game, but it was her work rate her coach noticed most.
“There’s always that one player that when they’re working hard the whole team wants to work hard too. Micaela especially brings that,” Tigert said. “The game against Bellingham, Micaela was literally running sideline to sideline.”
With Meridian (6-0-0, 3-0-0 NWC) currently undefeated on the year nearing the halfway point, it’s become clear that the Trojans are no longer just the top small school in the conference, they’re one of the best teams overall. Pimento has similarly solidified her spot as one of the top forwards in the league despite her size.
“I would say she’s fearless,” Tigert said. “She’s not afraid to attack and she does it with finesse and poise. She’s a really good fit up there.”
There’s two ways for David to defeat Goliath — work smarter or work harder. Pimento has mastered both and the Trojans have followed suit.
Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or email@example.com.
Finish of Meridian’s finish in the girls’ 4x200 relay at the Class 1A State Track and Field Championships corrected on Sept. 29, 2015.
Replacing a star
Junior Micaela Pimento has stepped into the role graduated Lexi McKinnon excelled at last season:
Lexi McKinnon (2014)
Micaela Pimento (2015)*
*through first six games