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Five Tigers headline all-league soccer team

Granite Bay represented by its defense
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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A year that brought the school its first girls section soccer title in its 24th year of trying saw Roseville High dominating the all-Sierra Foothill League honor roll.

 

The Tigers combined their traditionally strong defense with a high-octane attack to make life difficult on opponents both inside and outside the SFL. The news that the CIF did not act to change the rules regarding simultaneous club team and high school participation was particularly good news around Roseville, as all five of its all-leaguers will be back in 2011.

 

An already strong unit became dominant with the arrival of Paige Crouch, who moved into town from Georgia. Crouch may be the most talented freshman striker to come around in a long time. She is, to the girls’ game, the kind of transformational player that Granite Bay star Chris Gaschen was for four years on the boys’ side.

 

Almost unstoppable with the ball in her possession and so knowledgeable about the game that it is difficult to stop her from getting the ball, Crouch is a dynamic and special scorer, even as a freshman.

 

“She was absolutely the best center forward in the league,” said Roseville coach Pablo Gutierrez. “She has the unique sprint that leaves the opponent wondering, ‘How can I stop her?’ She has that special close to her feet ball control combined with a personal dribble that makes her unstoppable. She was the MVP of our team and an excellent candidate for SFL MVP.”

 

She did not get that league MVP honor, which went to Rocklin’s junior midfielder Savannah Coiner, but her team won the bigger prize – the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title.

 

Crouch’s life was made easier by the presence of junior forward Amanda Ellsworth at her side. The duo has a unique working relationship as they share an ability to read and play off of each other that is rarely seen at this level.

 

Amanda controlled the ball, giving enough time for Paige to make her move,” Gutierrez said. “Paige and Amanda complemented each other really well. Amanda knew when she needed to come to the defensive portion of the field to get the play started and her

knowledge of the game was a key part our offensive strength.”

 

Junior midfielder Adriane Bates was the glue that connected the Tigers’ powerful attack with its outstanding back line.

 

“Bates was the toughest player on the team,” Gutierrez said. “When the game was on the line the way she played made a difference on our team and when there is a need to become physical she was the best. She has those unique qualities of getting the players' attention and also their support to practice the right way.”

 

The duo that controlled the center of the Roseville back line rounds out the team’s all-league contingent, as sophomore Kelsey DeCarlo and junior Kayla Granley kept opposing attackers in check.

 

“Kelsey has that knowledge to be able to read every play that comes from the offense of the opponent,” Gutierrez said. “She controls the ball with both feet and is able to switch a pass 50 yards away without any problems. She was the brains of Roseville High defense. Kayla is one of the fastest learners I have ever coached. She switched her mentality from being a forward to a defender and adapted quickly and from the beginning to create an impact on our defense. She has the unique characteristic of being able to communicate with her teammates in a very friendly way.”

 

A Granite Bay team that was able to hurt you with its offense a year ago had to change its approach dramatically in 2010.

 

“When you average just over one goal a game, you really rely on your players in the back,” said Granite Bay coach Chris Roberts. “Our defense was there all season long as a group we could consistently depend on. They had such a knowledge of the game that they were able to dictate play to offensive players.”

 

Not surprisingly, all three Grizzlies named to the all-league team came from that defensive group. Junior Chelsea Putnam missed the last few games and the postseason with a knee injury, but made enough impact before that time to earn all-league recognition.

 

“Chelsea was one of the best defenders, if not the best defender, in the league,” Roberts said. “One-on-one, not matter who the opponent was, she always had the upper hand.”

 

Sophomore defender Kayla Karlsson was solid in the middle of the Grizzlies’ back line all year long. She delivered most of the long-range free kicks and put balls in dangerous places regularly.

 

“Kayla is an extremely coachable individual,” Roberts said. “She won the coach’s award for our team. She always knows exactly where to be and what to do.”

 

The third Granite Bay back to earn all-SFL recognition was senior Caresse Little. She was a strong outside defender who allowed Roberts the luxury of knowing he could match other teams’ outside attackers speed.

 

“Her speed is just amazing,” Roberts said. “She has an amazing nose for the ball and as you watch her you see her consistently beating other players to the ball.”

 

Three players who will be back next year also represented Woodcreek on the all-league team. Junior Johnna Franks was the leading scorer on a Timberwolf team that just barely missed out on a postseason spot.

 

Junior midfielder Emily Becker and sophomore midfielder Rachel Dortch joined Franks as leaders on the pitch for Woodcreek. The improving program got its strength from its ability to win balls and control possession, and this trio was instrumental in making that happen.

 

Oakmont was also represented by a pair of junior midfielders. The Vikings were an extremely young team this season as well, and it was the play of Kayla Powers and Taylor O’Meara that made the team competitive night in and night out.

 

The Vikings did not have as many wins as they would have liked, but they were one of the few teams to knock off Roseville, and it was their win over Woodcreek on the season’s final day that sent the Timberwolves home and Granite Bay off to the postseason.

 

FYI:

Sierra Foothill League girls soccer all-league team

MVP: Savannah Coiner, Rocklin midfielder

 

Paige Crouch, Roseville forward

Amanda Ellsworth, Roseville forward

Adriane Bates, Roseville midfielder

Kelsey DeCarlo, Roseville defender

Kayla Granley, Roseville defender

Kayla Karlsson, Granite Bay defender

Chelsea Putman, Granite Bay defender

Caresse Little, Granite Bay defender

Johnna Franks, Woodcreek forward

Emily Becker, Woodcreek midfielder

Rachel Dortch, Woodcreek midfielder

Kayla Powers, Oakmont midfielder

Taylor O’Meara, Oakmont midfielder

Megan Hanson, Rocklin defender

Melanie Bertrand, Rocklin goalkeeper

Dana Greenwood, Rocklin forward

Bibi Carmouche, Del Oro forward

Becky Duncan, Del Oro midfielder

Casey McCavitt, Del Oro defender

Anne Dunne, Nevada Union defender

Brittany Siemers, Nevada Union midfielder