Sore ending leads to soaring future

By The Beacon | November 28, 2012 9:00pm

Senior defender Taylor Brooke waves to the crowd as she is honored in a pregame ceremony with her family on Nov. 9 against Washington State. Brooke has been named All-WCC Honorable Mention the past two years. (Photograph courtesy of

By PJ Marcello, Staff Writer

A roller coaster season full of thrills and heartbreak ended Nov. 16 for the women's soccer team in a 3-0 loss to Michigan at University Park, Penn.

The Pilots' season is a tale of two teams. One was a team plagued by injury and a five-game winless streak. The other was highlighted with a 1-0 win over top-ranked North Carolina, a movie-like finish in a penalty kick victory over Washington State and a seven-game streak without a loss at the end of the season.

The Pilots are proud to have finished strong this season and look forward to building off the success going into next season.

"It was fun to watch this season unfold," Head Coach Garrett Smith said. "We dealt with a lot of adversity and it was a pleasure to watch this team battle and come out how we did."

Much of the adversity from the season stemmed from the impact of injuries on an already limited roster. Most teams consist of a roster of about 25 players. This year, the Pilots had 18.

"The ability to hold things together shows a lot of character from this team," Smith said. "We were able to overcome a bind in the middle of the season and still play an attractive brand of soccer. Not just by over-powering or using just our speed, we showed what Portland soccer is all about."

The players took pride in the season. During the rough patch in the middle of the season, there were a lot of questions surrounding the team's ability to compete with injuries to Micaela Capelle and Ellen Parker. Despite this fear from fans, the Pilots responded with seven straight games without a loss.

"When people doubted us we stood up for ourselves and proved them wrong," freshman midfielder Devlyn Jeter said. "Just because we were small doesn't mean we weren't strong. We pulled through in a tough situation to overcome."

The team's only senior, Taylor Brooke, believes the team is left in a position to be even stronger next season.

"I think they're going to exceed anything I have seen in my four seasons," Brooke said. "We have a strong incoming class and strong leadership that can keep the culture of this team and use the momentum of these last months."

The Pilots will miss having Brooke on the team. Her energy and leadership made her stand out on and off the field.

"It is remarkable to see her capacity to play the full 90 [minutes]," Smith said. "What she brings in pace and her ability to attack on defense will truly be missed."

Brooke looks back fondly on this season and her career not only for team accolades on the field, but for development beyond the pitch as well.

"Being a Pilot taught me to do better every day on the field as well as in the classroom," Brooke said. "When I step onto the field I do the best I can every time, and I walked away with a bunch of positives."

This positive attitude resonated with her teammates, and her advice following her final game will stick with the team of 2013.

"Taylor said something I will never forget. She simply told us, 'enjoy it,'" Jeter said.