From left to right, Mount Si’s Izzy Smith, Sarah Creighton and Joelle Buck get their kicks at practice. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

From left to right, Mount Si’s Izzy Smith, Sarah Creighton and Joelle Buck get their kicks at practice. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

Wildcats are shooting to make the playoffs this season

Mount Si girls soccer squad possesses grit and positivity.

Mount Si’s girls soccer team has its sights — and boots — set on scoring more goals this season. Cracking the back of the net copious times will hopefully translate into an appearance in the 4A KingCo playoffs.

Former Mount Si player Sophie Rockow, who enters her third year as the squad’s head coach after two years as an assistant, said the Wildcats have improved each year and their big goal this fall is reaching the postseason.

“This is the most competitive tryouts we’ve had. They’ve been preparing all summer in terms of fitness and just playing together, getting used to each other. I think this will be the strongest year we’ve had in at least five years since I’ve been here,” said Rockow, adding that 75 players tried out for the Wildcats’ squads.

At the team’s first practice on Aug. 28, players paired up and participated in a trust walk. Wildcats tied different-colored bandanas around their eyes and guided each other around the stadium.

“A big part of our first day is getting everyone used to each other, getting the trust levels up for everyone and just making sure everyone’s comfortable,” said Rockow, whose squad finished 6-7-2 last season.

Top returners are seniors Sarah Creighton (center midfielder), Izzy Smith (forward), Joelle Buck (center defender) and Lily Foster (goalkeeper), along with juniors Mia Campo (midfielder/forward) and Kylie Hunter (goalkeeper). Smith and Hunter are currently nursing injuries, but they’ll hit the pitch later in the season.

“High school is a fun time to play soccer ‘cause we just know each other so well and it’s fun to compete together. I just think our team unity is really strong here,” Buck said. “In KingCo 4A, there’s really competitive teams, and so I feel like the defense has to work extra hard. We have to be strong back there and we have to make sure that we distribute the ball well.”

Co-captain Creighton — who is a four-year varsity player along with Smith and Buck — thrives in her position and joins her teammates in working together as a strong unit.

“I love center mid because it’s a mix between defending and getting a chance to work into the attack. You have a lot of flexibility there. It’s just trying to aid your teammates, trying to be open for your backline and help them when they’re in trouble,” Creighton said.

Smith, also a co-captain, will be keeping a close eye on what’s happening on the field so she’ll be primed to join the action when she’s at full strength.

She said that the fall is one of the best times of the year because girls soccer season is on the docket.

“We’re a very positive team, and all of us work really well together,” Smith said. Creighton added that Rockow has helped the Wildcats grow as a team by encouraging them to push through the tough parts of the season.

Following her Mount Si career, Rockow played for two years at Bellevue College and then attended Pacific Lutheran University, where she received a degree in exercise science and minored in coaching and sports psychology. She enjoys giving back to the Mount Si program as a coach and is joined by assistant Laura Barnes, who played with Rockow at Mount Si and Bellevue College.

“My big thing is just making them into better people and better players. I look at the whole person. I want them to be able to leave this program and basically just affect the world in a positive way,” Rockow said.

As she glances around the stadium and the surrounding neighborhood, Rockow stitches together her town and the sport she loves the most.

“Mount Si is kind of known for blue-collar work ethic, just really grinding everything out and working really hard. That’s something we’re also really gonna focus on this year is just being the toughest team on the field,” she said.

• The Wildcats kick off their season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at home versus Curtis.

Wildcats Kendal Forrest, left, and Sarah Creighton participate in a trust walk at practice. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

Wildcats Kendal Forrest, left, and Sarah Creighton participate in a trust walk at practice. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

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