There were quite a few similarities between the Bret Harte High School and Calaveras High School girls’ soccer programs.
Both teams had new head coaches. Both new coaches were former players of their respective programs. Both squads have young talent that should bring wins for the next few years. And both teams were represented on the Mother Lode League all-league team.
Bret Harte’s Kara Schultz, Chloe Crawford and Burgen Melton, along with Calaveras’ Montana Grant, Lauren Simpson, Destiny Harper and Elizabeth Enderlein finished the 2019-20 season as all-league players.
Under new head coach Deanna Williams, Calaveras finished with an overall record of 5-12-4 and ended the Mother Lode League season 3-6-1. Calaveras got the No. 15 seed in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs, where the year came to an end with a 5-0 loss to No. 2 Casa Roble in the opening round.
“I feel my first season as a coach went well,” Williams said. “It’s not easy taking over a program that’s had so many different coaches in the last few years. But I’m up for the challenge. We had a good ‘team’ aspect this year, which is our foundation and our building block going into next year.”
Making the first team for Calaveras is Grant and Simpson. Grant, a sophomore, is a two-year varsity starter. In her second year on the varsity squad, Grant scored four goals and seven assists. She scored twice and had three assists in a 13-0 home victory over Denair and later had two assists in a 3-0 win over Argonaut.
“What impresses me most about Montana is her ease with the ball,” Williams said. “She has a way of seeing the field differently than everyone else and she has an unstoppable drive.”
Simpson finishes her Calaveras career on the first team after scoring six goals and recording two assists. She scored against Denair, Mountain House, Escalon, Riverbank and Argonaut, while dishing out two assists against Denair. Simpson also received the character award.
“Lauren is just an amazing all-around person,” Williams said. “She never loses her cool and always says and does the right thing. She wants to pursue a career as a first responder and I know she will be amazing at it.”
Harper and Enderlein were placed on the second team. Harper was one of Calaveras’ main defensive players and although one of the smallest players on the field, didn’t let that deter her from always playing physical.
“Destiny goes into every game with a ‘ride or die’ aspect,” Williams said. “She’s fearless and has the skill to challenge anyone on the field.”
Enderlein, a senior, protected Calaveras’ goal and recorded 104 saves. She finished the season making 10 or more saves five times, including a season-high 14 in a tough 2-1 loss to Ripon.
“Elizabeth always gives 100% at whatever she’s doing on the field,” Williams said. “She works extremely hard and I think her success as a keeper this year shows that.”
With former Bullfrog Jessica Bowman taking over for Bret Harte, her squad went 4-10-2 overall and 1-7-2 in league play. Although Bret Harte’s record wasn’t great, three league losses were by just one goal.
For Bret Harte, Schultz and Crawford made the first team. Although only a sophomore, Schultz played like a true veteran and was Bret Harte’s leading scorer.
“Kara was a bright, shining sophomore with enormous talent and a winning attitude,” Bowman said. “She never gives up and continues to fire away at the goal no matter the current status of the game. I am so excited to see her growth over the next two seasons.
Crawford was one of Bret Harte’s co-captains, a team leader and was given the character award.
“Chloe was an instrumental leader for us this season and dominated the back line with such command,” Bowman said. “As a team captain, she led the team with grace and maturity well beyond her years.”
Making the second team was Melton, who, like Schultz, is only a sophomore and should be one of Bret Harte’s key contributors for the next two years.
“As center-mid, she held the middle of the field with a large commanding presence,” Bowman said. “As a sophomore, her ability to see the whole field and distribute the ball accordingly is truly a gift.”
In regard to coaching Schultz, Crawford and Melton in her first year at Bret Harte, Bowman said, “I could not be more proud of these three inspiring young women. Witnessing their growth and strength over the course of one season was an honor and a privilege.”
Bret Harte’s Crawford, Annika Kruger, Brenna Landis, Melton, Jaqueline Rivera Santander, Elora Shaw and Graceana Shaw made the all-academic team.