Another year, another new soccer coach for Wolves

Coach: Julie Cain, first season.

Key returners: MF Christina Boddie, sr.; F Courtney Brown, sr.; R-CM Kelsey Callaghan, jr.; OB Riley Dopps, jr.; D-CM Kailey Lyman, soph.; MF Miranda Ness, sr.; GK Holly Sieler, sr.; C-MF Kelsey Stoner, sr.; OB Brianna Waldron, sr.

Key departures: CB Rebecca Christenberry, graduated; F Tori Fairweather, graduated; MF Courtney Mayo, graduated; D Alyssa Nystrom, graduated; MF Nicole Padmos, graduated; CM Crystal Polen, graduated; D Jordan Thon, graduated; MF Kaurie Wiggins, graduated.

Top newcomers: D-CM Miranda Caballero, fr.; CB Dana Goularte, jr.; F Becca Schoales, fr.; GK Brianna Smallidge, soph.

The program features its third coach in as many years, but the popularity surrounding South Kitsap’s girls soccer program seems as strong as ever.

New coach Julie Cain had 76 girls at tryouts last week.

She kept 20 on varsity and 18 on the both the junior-varsity and C teams. The Wolves’ depth has been so great in recent years that schools such as Olympic College have featured athletes who didn’t play at the high-school level.

That, coupled with many athletes who play for local club soccer teams, are reasons why Cain said she felt she could build the Wolves into a dynasty upon her hiring in July.

And her enthusiasm has only increased.

“I think we’re looking really strong,” Cain said. “We have a lot of depth.”

South finished tied for third in the Narrows League last year with a 7-2-1 record and was 12-5-1 overall.

Perhaps the highlight of the season came when the Wolves upset No. 2-ranked Bellarmine Prep, 1-0, Sept. 30 when outside-midfielder Kaurie Wiggins took a 35-yard cross from sophomore Kelsey Callaghan and first-touched it into the back of the net. It was believed to be the first win in program history against the Lions.

South likely will need to make it two in a row if it hopes to capture the Narrows League championship, which Cain said is the goal for the season.

The Wolves advanced to state last year under Michael Krug despite replacing 12 seniors off the 2007 squad. They don’t lose that many this time, but still graduated Alyssa Nystrom, arguably the program’s best player in recent years. The first-team all-Narrows League selection now is playing at the University of Montana.

“It definitely hurts us, but we have a lot of good players,” senior midfielder Miranda Ness said. “I think we’re going to be fine.”

South also regains senior forward Courtney Brown, who missed almost all of last year after breaking her right fibula during an Olympic Development Program tryout. Cain expects her to return within two weeks, which means she should be available when the team opens league play Sept. 17 at Foss.

Cain expects her to play regularly at forward along with freshman Becca Schoales. She’s excited about the explosiveness at that position along with outside back, which features junior Riley Dopps and senior Brianna Waldron.

“There’s so much speed and talent on the outsides,” Cain said. “We’re going to look at attacking with the outside backs.”

Cain, 35, relocated to Port Orchard last year — her husband, Andrew, is the principal at Cedar Heights Junior High — and was a Westsound FC club soccer coach after several years at the collegiate level.

She served as an women’s soccer assistant coach at Seattle Pacific University from 2002-05. The Redhawks won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles in each of her four years.

Cain, who graduated from Shoreline’s Shorewood High, played center-midfield at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., from 1992-95. She was an assistant coach the following year when Westmont had 15-5-2 record and ended the season ranked No. 1 in NAIA.

She follows Scott Sodorff (2006-07) and Krug (2008), another Westsound FC coach who guided the Wolves’ boys program to a state title last spring before resigning from both positions.

But Cain plans to stay “as long as they’ll have me,” and has begun to implement her offense. She took her players to watch SPU’s women’s team practice last week to learn the 4-4-2 diamond offense she’s implementing.

Senior center-midfielder Kelsey Stoner is excited about what she’s seen.

“I think she has us put together well,” she said of their new coach. “She’s really good.”

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