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Thunder rocks GB

By: Jacob Ruffman Special to The Press-Tribune
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It is never easy to say goodbye to senior athletes, but letting go of seniors Mallory Maughan and Katie Oddo last season was especially hard for the Granite Bay High School girls' soccer program. Both Maughan and Oddo earned full-ride scholarships to NCAA division one girls' soccer programs, as Maughan went to BYU Hawaii, while Oddo went to Miami. Both of those girls were spectacular for us all four years they played, head coach Chris Roberts said. But we have a really solid core this year, and our potential is unlimited. This core that Roberts speaks of consists of a group of juniors, including forwards Alexis Knudtson, who is also one of the best players for Granite Bay's girls' basketball team, Sarah Kendall and Anne Taylor; defenders Kaellie Stone and Christina Keady; and midfielder Gabby Speck. The girls all have been on the varsity team for at least one year, with Stone, Knudtson and Taylor having a roster spot since their freshman year. Senior defender Audrey Richter and senior forward Sam Congdon are the leaders of the Lady Grizzlies so far this season, as Richter has anchored the defense, while Congdon already has a multiple-goal game only six games into the season. With all of this talent, they have only a 1-4-1 record six games into the season. Potential doesn't always equate to wins, Roberts said. The Lady Grizzlies sustained a 1-0 loss to Rocklin in the first game of the league season. The game was the epitome of a defensive struggle, with Granite Bay able to shut Rocklin's offense down throughout the first half and most of the second, while Rocklin was able to keep the ball out of the goal thanks to the brilliant play of senior goalie Lauren Coiner, who has already committed to the University of Reno, one of the top programs in the nation for girls' soccer. The game was tied 0-0 going into the half, but Rocklin was able to break down the defense on one sequence to put Rocklin up 1-0 off the foot of midfielder Steph Manstch. The game ended with the same numbers on the scoreboard, as Granite Bay was unable to put together a successful drive for the rest of the game. Our girls didn't play with the intensity we would hope for, Roberts said. We are a terrific team, but we can't keep on letting beatable teams get by us. Injuries have been a huge factor in their struggle to win. It all started with senior defender Lauren Brain, who was projected to be a rock for this team on the defensive end, but she tore her ACL during the off-season, keeping her off the field for the duration of the season. Following in the path of destruction is Kendall, who has been out with a foot injury, Stone, who has had knee problems early in the season, Knudtson, who has a tweaked ankle from the basketball season, and Richter, who has been playing despite a pulled hamstring. Right now, the key for us is to get healthy, and begin to play as a team, Roberts said. Our next game is Monday at Nevada Union, so that will give us some time to practice together, and try to get healthy for the season.