Saints soccer gets the ball rolling
Ryne Oshiro, Staff Writer
Locked and loaded. The two Saint Martin’s soccer teams look poised for yet another run at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. The Saint Martin’s Men’s Soccer Team is predicted to place third in this upcoming 2019-2020 season, according to a recent pre-season poll. In the last season that saw six Saints win All-Conference awards, the replacement of now graduated seniors Alexis Lopez and Griffin Small opened new opportunities for both familiar and new faces to step up.
Seniors Brandon Madsen and Sebastian Navarro will lead the well-seasoned pack. Madsen is now a two-time All-Conference First-Team selection and a two-time All-Region selection. He looks to write his name in Saint Martin’s record books as he is currently second all-time in goals with 29, and third all-time in points with 63. Navarro, who has already entered the record books with 21 assists, is set for his fourth and final season in a Saints uniform. Madsen and Navarro look to be the sort of veteran presence this young Saints team needs.
Also returning from an All-Conference selection is Cayman John and Jose Marquez. This means the Saints will have four returning starters who have had the experience of being All-Conference selections. Another bright spot for this year’s team is the return of many key contributors from last year. According to writer Austin Byrnes from Saints Athletics, returners include forward Jason Fairhurst, defenders Stephen Todd Murray Jr. and Collin LaBranche, and midfielder Nick Phillips. These four have combined for over 5,500 minutes of action last year, scored three goals, and added four assists.
The women’s soccer team will continue to build on what is already a strong foundation of players. Luckily for the Saints, two of their top goal scorers from last year, Kiersten Madsen and Shea McKnight, are returning. The pair will continue to be significant contributors this year, as well. Madsen and McKnight combined for nine goals and five assists as a part of the Saints offense last season. Madsen, who was an All-Conference Honorable Mention selection last year, looks to lead the charge coming off a season that saw her as the top goal scorer for the Saints.
Another pair of key players for Saint Martin’s include returners Rose Robbins and Olivia Bianco. Both players are defenders for the team and look to hold down the opposite end of the field. Robbins, who was also an All-Conference Honorable Mention two years ago, looks to become a leader as she will play a vital role in steering the team towards the playoffs in her final season.
Saints Athletics also stated key players such as forward Natalie Brown and midfielders LeAnn Phanakhone, Jolene Kvinsland, and Jessica Moskowitz. Brown, who scored two goals last year, ranks third on the team in that category heading into 2019. Moskowitz played in 17 matches for over 900 minutes, scored one goal, and was credited for one assist. Phanakhone and Kvinsland bring over 1,800 minutes of combined experience in their first season at Saint Martin’s to the midfield this year.
The men’s season will officially start on Sept. 5 as they host Regis at 3:00 p.m. Meanwhile, the women will be on the road on Sept. 5 against Holy Names University.