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Kelso (GSHL 3A)

Last year: 10-6-2 overall, 5-3-2 in league; lost in bi-district playoffs

Coach: Kemal Vejo (sixth season)

Player to watch: Tally Connors, sr., MF

X-Factor: Matisyn Ohlson, jr., F

Outlook: Four seniors are set to lead a young group hoping for another playoff season, following last year’s 4-0 playoff loss to Gig Harbor. Matisyn Ohlson, who scored 14 times last year, leads the offense, while Tally Connors, a relentless midfielder, is the key piece to both sides of the ball. 

R.A. Long (GSHL 2A)

Last year: 13-8 overall, 6-6 in league; lost in state playoffs

Coach: Taylor Wallace (first season)

Player to watch: Eastyn Reeves, sr., DEF

X-Factor: Greta Hanich, sr., DEF

Outlook: The Lumberjills took a 10-9 record in 2017, added three wins, and made their first trip to state under then-coach Teresa Aloe. Shortly after, though, Aloe stepped down and boys' assistant Taylor Wallace will take the helm. A defensive improvement paid major dividends for R.A. Long last year, and it figures to build on that behind Eastyn Reeves, who is being encouraged to get into the attack when the Jills move forward. 

Mark Morris (GSHL 2A)

Last year: 10-10 overall, 5-7 in league; lost in district playoffs

Coach: Eric Maxey (12th season)

Player to watch: Mary VandenBerg, jr., MF

X-Factor: Aunika Rodman, sr., GK

Outlook: The Monarchs are looking to build on balanced scoring and breakout seasons from junior Mary Vandenberg and senior Madison Pond. Coach Eric Maxey considers the league to be among the most difficult in the state, and expects to need the team’s very best on a consistent basis in order to advance into the postseason.

Woodland (GSHL 2A)

Last year: 3-13 overall, 0-12 in league; missed playoffs

Coach: Fred Jenkins (second season)

Player to watch: Ashlyn Daugherty, jr., MF

X-Factor: Gwen Elkinton, jr., DEF

Outlook: Playing keepaway is something the Beavers will be looking to do this season after surrendering 61 goals to opponents last year. Spirits are high, though, and a recent practice ended with a lullaby sung to Woodland’s football team as the two teams finished practice using the same field. That kind of confidence can go a long way.

Castle Rock (Trico 1A)

Last year: 0-14 overall, 0-8 in league; missed playoffs

Coach: Alyssa Hudson (third season)

Player to Watch: Jamie Lee, sr., F

X-Factor: Madeline DelCastillo, sr., F

Outlook: Seven seniors graduated, and the Rockets will rely on a core of five seniors. The youth movement could be a positive, though, as the program has struggled in recent years without a league win in the past two. 

Kalama (Central 2B)

Last year: 12-5 overall, 11-3 in league; lost in district playoffs

Coach: John Bates (fifth season)

Player to watch: Lily Given, jr., MF

X-Factor: Melanie Martinez, so., F

Outlook: After finishing with the same league record as the previous year when they finished as state runner-up, the Chinooks absorbed a rough draw in districts with a loss to Life Christian. Breakout forward Melanie Martinez and her cohorts are using that as motivation this time around.

Toledo (Central 2B)

Last year: 6-10 overall, 4-10 in league; missed playoffs

Coach: Noel Vazquez (third season)

Player to watch: Rylan Richardson, sr., W

X-Factor: Maryssa Peters, so., F

Outlook: Toledo’s last season was marred by close losses, but polished with breakout performances from several underclassmen. Perhaps growth from that same core group, and some hyper-athletic newcomers, will help the Indians get over the bumps from last year.

Winlock (Central 2B)

Last year: 4-12 overall, 2-12 in league; missed playoffs

Coach: Brian Ziese (third year)

Player to watch: Makayla Allbritton, sr., F

X-Factor: Joanna Barragan, sr., DEF

Outlook: Down a difference-maker in recently graduated Maggie Howsden, the Cardinals will lean on a large group of underclassmen to find early roles. There should be improvement in scoring as the Cardinals hope to break into the top ranks of the Central 2B League. 

Toutle Lake (Central 2B League)

Last year: No program

Coach: James Dillhoff (first year)

Player to watch: Paige Mershon, sr., MF

X-factor: Erica Thwaites, sr., MF

Outlook: Toutle has been a hotbed for athleticism for some time, so there’s little doubt the Ducks should be competitive right out of the gate. Starting a program from scratch is no easy task, but coach James Dillhoff has been working at it for a few years and the team could surprise some folks.

Ilwaco (Independent)

Last year: No program

Coach: Andrew Goodwin (first year)

Player to watch: Erika Glenn, so., MF

X-Factor: Elle Personius, jr., F

Outlook: While the Fishermen haven’t had a soccer program in some time, many on the team’s roster have experience through youth leagues. They also have athleticism, lots of it, and that’s two-thirds of the battle.

Rainier (Oregon Special District 1)

Last year: 2-5-1 overall, 2-8-1 in league; missed playoffs

Coach: Diane Kadolph-Ray (fourth season)

Player to Watch: Autumn Norman, sr., F

X-Factor: Hannah Biddix, sr., F

Outlook: The Columbians look to bounce back from a down season in which they kept opposing teams honest but struggled on offense. With several high-quality athletes, though, Rainier has the ability and coach Diane Kadolph-Ray is considered around the league as a high-quality coach.

Clatskanie (Independent)

Last year: 2-6 overall, 5-7 in league; missed playoffs

Coach: McKenzie Garlock (first season)

Outlook: The Tigers will be playing a JV schedule this year after graduating a large portion of the team and are rebuilding the popularity of girls soccer. Nine freshmen started four years ago, and the loop has reset. First-year coach McKenzie Garlock will be running point on the rebuild, as Clatskanie has its sights set on competing in Oregon’s Special District 1 next season.

- Jason Leskiw, The Daily News

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Sports Reporter

Jason is a journeyman sports reporter who has covered the Golden State Warriors, Oakland A's, along with a heavy emphasis on the Oakland Raiders. He comes to Cowlitz County from Oakland, Calif. and is a loving father.

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