New-look Knights working to get on the same page | Girls soccer

Roster undergoes a major overhaul
By David Pan | Sep 12, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak sophomore Abby Kyles waits for the ball to drop, while battling Edmonds-Woodway’s Chiara Serafini.

It’s a season of change – in more ways than one – for Kamiak’s girls soccer team.

The Knights lost eight starters, including five all-league players, from last year’s district playoff squad. Longtime coach Beth Stewart also retired and was succeeded by a familiar face at the school, boys soccer coach Kosta Pitharoulis.

As might be expected, the Knights are still getting to know each other on and off the field.

“It’s a fresh new team of players and obviously we have a new coach,” senior co-captain Liz Thayer said. “That’s a big change with a new style of play and a new mentality. … We’re trying to figure out where every player fits in.”

Pitharoulis’ focus in the Knights’ first two non-conference contests was on communication and on making sure the players were in sync with each other.

“We’re still figuring things out and learning how to play as a team,” Pitharoulis said.

During its season opener, some players had to come out of the game due to leg cramps, which forced Pitharoulis to make some unexpected substitutions.

“Some kids had to play in some other positions,” the Kamiak coach said. “That was good to see them play in some other roles that I maybe didn’t have them pegged for.”

Kamiak dropped a 2-1 decision to Edmonds-Woodway and then lost 3-2 to Archbishop Murphy in nonconference play.

Pitharoulis saw both positives and negatives.

“The point of these first two games … is just making sure that we’re getting on the same page,” Pitharoulis said.

A major change that Pitharoulis is pushing is more precise passing.

“It’s the passing game now,” Thayer said. “We’re trying to play to feet and get the ball forward as a team rather than booting and chasing.”

The Knights went into halftime tied with the Warriors but then allowed them to score on a corner kick in the second half.

“There are some areas we need to improve,” Pitharoulis said. “We worked on defensive corners and then obviously gave up one of a corner. We gave up quite a few corners.”

Junior Stephanie Roestel, a first-team, all-league goalkeeper, figures to be a key part of the Kamiak defense.

Edmonds-Woodway coach Bill LeCompte praised Roestel’s play.

“Their keeper kept them in the game,” he said. “We had some really good opportunities that most nights are goals.”

Junior Anna Lau, sophomore Abby Kyles and freshman Riley Beirne are among the offensive threats for the Knights. Pitharoulis isn’t as concerned with who is starting but rather how the players perform.

“When any of them gets the opportunity on the field, they need to do the best they can to make things happen,” he said.

Pitharoulis noted that it’s expected that players’ roles will change year to year.

“Maybe last year they had a different role because there were so many seniors,” he said. “So now they’re given an opportunity not only to start but also to show what they’ve got. I think a lot of them have embraced that opportunity.”

Even with the influx of new starters, senior co-captain Casey Gonzales has high expectations.

“We have the potential to be a really great team,” she said. “I think it’s just going to take time.”

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