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Clovis girls poised for deep playoff run

Lady 'Cats return nucleus of last year's 6A tournament squad


August 21, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Clovis senior Madeline Howalt beats junior varsity defender Zoi Mendoza to a ball during Saturday's scrimmage at Leon Williams Stadium.

CLOVIS - Clovis' girls soccer team came oh so close to extending its 2018 season.

And when the Lady Wildcats lost to Eldorado, a 1-0 heartbreaker in the 99th minute of overtime play in the state 5A tournament's first round, the Clovis players who knew they would return were left wanting more.

They may get it this year with one of their main goalies back, plus two of their most electric scoring threats also returning.

So as Traci Sievers begins her ninth season coaching Clovis at noon Friday, when the Lady Wildcats open against Robertson in the Taos Tournament, she does so with a team that could be poised for a deep postseason run.

"That's what our goal is - try to make it further than last year," Sievers said. "We definitely weren't satisfied last year."

Offense should not be a problem this year, as strikers Madison Lynch and Nevaeh Coronado return for their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively.

"A lot of scoring was Madison and Nevaeh," Sievers said, "and Danielle (Griego) led us in assists last year."

There's enough back overall to have those involved with Clovis girls soccer excited.

"I think we look pretty good," Sievers said. "Not a whole lot of changes up top or in the midfield. Kelsey Kendall played in the midfield some last year, but Danielle Griego will be moving into her position. She'll still rotate some at forward. We've got lots of girls that can play multiple positions, so that's kinda handy."

Sievers described the junior Griego as an attacking midfielder when she plays there, and she'll be joined in the midfield by returning seniors Sofia Rico and Ayden Everett.

Seniors Madeline Howalt and Kiyrha Lilly return to play defense and midfield. And junior Mika Yanez is back to play defender.

"I think we do have a lot of experience," Sievers said. "Madeline and Sofia and Ayden have all been starting since they were freshmen, so they're going to be four-year starters."

Another key returnee from last year is Hanna Nussbaumer, now a junior, who saw quality time as part of a goaltending platoon with the since-graduated Hannah Howell. The super-important starting role now belongs to Nussbaumer.

Aside from the polished veterans, Clovis will get an infusion of talent from its newcomers. Up from junior varsity are: sophomore Ximena Rascon, who will play wing and some defense; sophomore forward Ileano Griego; sophomore midfielder Luisa Chavez; and sophomore defender Emily Byrd.

Another newcomer is senior defender/midfielder Angelina Lopez, a transfer from Clovis Christian.

Clovis also has tweaked its coaching ranks, with last year's junior varsity head coach Jenna Sievers becoming a varsity assistant this year, replaced as jayvee coach by Levi Lynch.

The pieces are there for a memorable autumn. The journey begins Friday.


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