The Connell girls soccer team eagerly awaited this season’s South Central Athletic Conference all-league awards, because a team that went undefeated against league opponents would certainly be recognized by league coaches for their accomplishment.
But when the list was posted two weeks ago, only one Connell player — senior defender Selby English — was named to the All-SCAC first team, and only three Eagles were named to the team in its entirety.
Perhaps the biggest slap in the face was the fact that Connell senior forward Brittany Vickerman, who led the six-team SCAC East in goals for the second season in a row, was denied a spot on the first team.
Vickerman, who transferred to Connell after a promising freshman season at Kiona-Benton, scored 42 goals for the Eagles last year and had 32 more this season. League coaches gave her a spot on the second team, but that was a slap in the face, according to Garcia.
“Oh my goodness, I was disappointed,” Eagles coach Hugo Garcia said of the snub. “We go to the meetings to select the teams and give kids some recognition they deserve. But the only thing I can do is nominate my players. I don’t get to vote for them.”
Garcia suspects that fellow coaches in the SCAC East refused to vote for his players because of the high scores his team posted in the regular season. Connell, which won all 10 of its league games, outscored SCAC East opponents 67-9.
“They say sometimes we run up the scores when we play,” Garcia said. “When we’re ahead, I try and move kids around. There’s not much I can do.
“In the end, it’s coming back to haunt us.”
Garcia said his team, and several parents, were upset by the league voting, but his advice to them was to let the team’s performance speak for itself.
The Eagles (13-3) will travel to face Caribou Trail League champion Cashmere (16-1) at 6 p.m. today in a Class 1A first-round state match. The Bulldogs knocked Connell out of the state playoffs last season, but Garcia thinks his team may be more prepared for them this year.
“They’re a very well-organized team, but I think my team, for once, we don’t have just one girl that can score,” Garcia said. “At first, they were disappointed (by the voting). I told them, ‘I know you deserve recognition, but if we work to make it farther than anybody else on (the east) side, the recognition will be given to you based on that.”
State history — Cashmere: 14 appearances (18-15 overall). Connell: 8 appearances (14-8 overall).
Highest finish at state — Cashmere: second in 2011. Connell: Class 2A state champion in 2003.
Last state appearance — Cashmere: 2012 (lost to Kings 2-0 in Final Four consolation). Connell: 2012 (lost 1-0 to Cashmere in first round).
Players to watch — Cashmere: MF Tianna Helm, sr.; F Tessa McCormick, jr.; D Tasha Kowatsch, sr.; MF Lauren Johnson, sr.; MF Dani Morseman, sr. Connell: F Brittany Vickerman, sr. (32 goals), D Selby English, sr.; GK Gloria Gomez, jr.; D Jacquie Ramos, jr.; MF Jessica Garcia, soph; GK Gloria Gomez, jr; MF Adriana Zuniga, jr.; F Lilibeth Rodriguez, sr.; MF Madeline Clawson, jr.
4 p.m., Lampson Stadium
State history — Kamiakin: 18 appearances since 1987 (19-21 overall). Peninsula: 8 appearances since 1982 (1-8 overall).
— Kamiakin: second in 1994, 1999. Peninsula: reached second round in 1984.Last state appearance
— Kamiakin: 2012 (lost 4-0 to Mt. Spokane in first round). Peninsula: 2012 (lost to Holy Names 2-0 in first round).Players to watch
— Kamiakin: F Ellie Heiden, sr. (15 goals, 15 assists), D Heather Donais, soph. (9 g, 7a); F Rilee Castilla, fr. (14 g); MF Parker Lee, soph. (7g, 7a). Peninsula: F Lauren Mercuri (9 goals, 3 assists), F Alayna Piwonski (7g), GK Katie Campbell 5 SO.
5:30 p.m., Spokane Falls Community College
State history — Mt. Spokane: 5 appearances since 2007 (5-5 overall). Southridge: 3 appearances since 2007 (3-3 overall).Highest finish at state
— Mt. Spokane: second in 2012. Southridge: third in 2010.Last state appearance
— Mt. Spokane: 2012 (lost to Columbia River in 3A state championship). Southridge: 2011.Players to watch
— Mt. Spokane: MF Alyssa Lloyd, sr.; F Katie Nilsson, sr.; GK Shannon McReynolds, sr.; D Ashlee Pedersen, sr.; D Dallas Flager, sr. Southridge: F/GK Mercedes Haberling, jr. (13g, 7a); MF Mckaley Goffard, fr. (11g, 4a); MF Hannah Sanders, sr. (10g, 8a); MF Michelle Foster, sr. (7g, 5a); GK Tiara Valadez, fr. (0.68 GAA, 3 SO).