by Toby Cooper
Looking ahead into 2023, coaches, players, and fans on Lopez are finding reasons to cheer.
No sooner had the school bid farewell to a bevy of graduating senior athletes last spring when the doors opened to an incoming flood of new talent for both soccer and volleyball.
Soccer Coach Mycah Kraushaar, who doubles as Athletic Director, was delighted to welcome 42 players for 2023. For this fall, the varsity team has only one senior player this year, Rudy Roush. But on the flip side, Coach Kraushaar has more than 40 underclass players with full eligibility – giving her the prospect of fielding teams of seasoned veterans in years to come.
On Sept. 15 (post-Weekly deadline), Lopez traveled to Orcas with both varsity and JV squads.
“We could field a third team, given our bulging roster,” says Kraushaar with a smile.
Expect Center Backs Oliver Rick and Rowdy Spreine to lead the team. Spreine co-captains with Ethan Patrick. The coach is confident that team chemistry will be potent.
With so many young players, Kraushaar is focusing on developing skills and strategy.
“Every pass has to mean something. If we learn this now, by the time they are seniors – watch out!” she said.
But in her dual role as coach and AD, she understands the risks brought about by her team’s unexpected rapid growth.
“The school is in a hard place with budget constraints,” Kraushaar said. “We will celebrate our wins, but meet adversity head-on.”
Like soccer, the Lopez High School volleyball campaign for 2023 is enjoying a renaissance. Freshmen are turning out to replace last year’s graduating class, and now the team has an exceptional number of promising players.
“They are still finding their groove after losing a few big talents at the end of last season,” says Kraushaar, adding that they have the skilled leadership of two seniors, Amelia Patino and Melissa Valencia.
Parents and fans are attracted to volleyball by the intensity of the game and the passion of the kids who play. The younger they are when they acquire the passion, the better.
Sophomore Betty Burt and Freshman Ruby Sausman are already winning hearts in the community for their can-do attitudes and gamesmanship.
With dozens of newcomers to both teams, the question of playing time lurks in the background. Soccer has 42 names on the soccer roster. Can Lopez hold on to the stars of tomorrow while the stars of today score goals?
“Sports is all about growth,” says Kraushaar. “These kids are learning so much about themselves, about confidence and teamwork. Make no mistake, we will work them in the lineup. But in the meantime, they are learning life’s most valuable lessons.”