MPHS girls soccer undefeated at 4-0 |

MPHS girls soccer undefeated at 4-0

Panthers have strength across the ranks after last year’s hiatus

Panther Lily Smith passes the ball during a girls soccer vs Arrupe Jesuit at MPHS on Wednesday. Middle Park won 10-0 to stay unbeaten through its first four games this season.

The Middle Park girls soccer team hadn’t taken the field for almost two years coming into the 2021 spring season, but the Panthers haven’t missed a beat despite the break.

Middle Park has won the first four games of its season, defeating KIPP Denver 2-1, Sheridan 13-0 and Lake County 10-0 in its first three games, all on the road. In its home opener on Wednesday, Middle Park beat Arrupe Jesuit 10-0 in another Class 3A Frontier League matchup.

“We were all super pumped,” Panthers coach Jackie McNamara said of returning to the pitch for the new season.

And the Panthers have a strong team again this year.

Coach McNamara said the grades are spread pretty evenly across the team, and the Panthers have a deep bench, which makes for a lot of competition and fun in practice. However, what McNamara enjoys most is the ways the players support each other.

“Our team is really solid in terms of them putting the team first,” the coach said. “There is a lot of really good chemistry that I really appreciate from the girls and coaching staff. We are all very cohesive, a really good unit on and off the field.”

Middle Park is captained by Katie Mackendrick and Abby Kuhnel. Mackenrick plays a number of positions across the field.

At midfield, Kuhnel isn’t as loud as Mackendrick, but they balance each other out well and are providing Middle Park with great leadership, McNamara said.

The other three seniors on the squad are Mia Rimmer, Ellen Osborne and Aubree Bridge. Bridge is returning from an injury in 2019. Osborne wasn’t on the field Wednesday, but she is expected for the Panthers’ next game.

“They all carry themselves very well and they’re good about carrying the team as well,” McNamara said.

Middle Park senior Mia Rimmer dribbles past Arrupe Jesuit sophomore Vanessa Trevizo in a 10-0 Middle Park victory on Wednesday.

Middle Park’s season has been shortened in terms of time and the number games. The schedule has been cut from the normal 15-game slate to 10 league games.

However, McNamara said that even though the team is playing an abbreviated schedule, they were excited to get back to work and enjoyed being on a natural grass field right off the bat. Normally, the team begins its practices in a dome and then has to adjust to playing on grass.

As for goals this season, Middle Park won its league in 2019 and would like to repeat. Beyond that, the girls are eyeing a run in the Class 3A state playoffs.

“Our goal is to make it to the playoffs and do well,” McNamara said.

Middle Park Jenna King dribbles past the Middle Park girls soccer bench as the team faces Arrupe Jesuit on Wednesday at MPHS .

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