Skyview soccer loaded with college-level talent

Four seniors plan on playing at college next season

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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The 2010 season was a breakthrough campaign for the Skyview girls soccer team. Not only did the Storm win a state playoff game for the first time, they won a couple before losing a penalty-kick tiebreaker in the Class 4A state semifinals.

The 2011 Storm would like to take the next step. While Skyview graduated a group of seniors who had played three and four years for the Storm, there is a confidence at Skyview that comes from those state successes.

And, there is still talent. Four Skyview seniors plan on playing college soccer.

In addition to Arizona-bound Sheaffer Skadsen, midfielder Becca Sikora (Portland State), winger Cassie Ripley (Central Washington), and defender Amanda Bristow (Southern Oregon) have made college commitments.

“We have a lot of individual talent on the team,” Bristow said. “Once we learn to mesh together, we can go far.”

Skyview, ranked No. 6 in Class 4A by the Seattle Times, has a veteran back line and a senior goalkeeper, Hannah Johnson, who was voted second-team all-state last year.

Injuries have cut into the roster. Ripley, Skyview’s second leading scorer in 2010, suffered a torn ACL playing club soccer on July and will miss her senior season. She has friends who have suffered the same injury, which is a common one for girls in soccer, and said those friends have been supportive and encouraging. It helps that the coach at Central Washington has stayed committed to Ripley.

“I’ve learned that there is life outside of soccer,” Ripley said, admitting that it is tough to watch her teammates in action. During games, she tries to focus on the game as if she was a part of it.

What she sees is plenty of potential.

“We still have a really strong core to our team. I think we’ll go just as far — or farther (than in 2010).”

The seniors who will lead this Skyview team said that among the lessons they learned during last season is the value of patience and persistence.

“One key is being patient and waiting for (chemistry) to develop,” Sikora said. “In time, we will become a better team together.”

Time is relative, though. At best, if they make it back to the final four, the seniors have two more months of high school for soccer.

For those, including goalkeeper Johnson, who don’t plan to play college soccer, there is motivation to keep playing as long as possible.

“We did it last year,” Johnson said, “and we know the feeling so we’d like to (reach the final four) again.”