Girls’ soccer coach expects ‘better finishes’ in league

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Following an impressive 2014-15 season in which the varsity girls’ soccer team accrued a 17-5 record and reached the Division 4 CIF quarterfinals, expectations for this year’s squad are high.

“This year we have an incredible core, starting with five seniors who were all four-year varsity players,” Coach Mark Zeolla said. “Due to the balance of this team, we are expecting better finishes in league and the CIF playoffs.”

Leading scorers Jordyn Bradbury and University of Denver recruit Hannah Adler are returning for their senior seasons. Bradbury, who was the team’s top scorer last season, has notched three goals and an assist over five games. Oak Park has also received notable contributions from underclassmen, with forward and freshman Carolyn Quandt recording a goal and three assists thus far.

“In my four years of being on varsity this is the fastest overall team we have had,” senior Julia Gilliam said.

Gilliam said she believes that the leadership of Zeolla has resulted in a sense of confidence among team members.

“Coach [Zeolla] has instilled high expectations for our team; we want to win Coastal Canyon League and we want to win in the playoffs,” Gilliam said, “We know it’s going to take hard work and dedication, and we’re all very excited for this season.”

The team ranked 136th in the nation last season, yet only 60th in the state — displaying the competitiveness of high school soccer in California.

“To make it past the quarterfinals, we have to work harder, stay committed, trust our coaches and play as one,” senior Ashley Cruz said. “If we follow that formula, we should be successful this year.”