Since winning the Section championship in 2015 Foothill has reached the County finals two years in a row only to fall short to Mater Dei. Last year the Knights were a bit on the young side. They begin this year with a core group of experienced juniors and seniors looking to add a County finals win to their resumes.
Foothill brings a blue-collar approach to the game the game that allows them to grind out wins. Despite reaching the finals last year, you have to work your way all the way down to the third team of last year’s All-County selections before you will find a Foothill Knight. It is that approach, coupled with the additional year of experience for a returning group deep in juniors and seniors that makes the Knights dangerous again this year.
If the Knights do win it all again this year, their defense may be what sets them apart. Senior Becca Nailon returns between the pipes to backstop a stingy defense that allowed only 7.2 goals per game last year and held their opponents to single digits 13 times. Senior defender Vanessa Topete who led the team in takeaways last year with 18 and was second in groundballs with 22 is also back. Junior defender Nicollette Maniatis also returns with her 18 groundballs and 13 takeaways.
Offensively, the Knights return four of last year’s top scorers, giving them talent and experience at the other end of the field as well. Juniors Brooke Williams (50 goals) and Ava Brand (45 goals) led the team in scoring last year and they are back with another year of experience under their belts. Senior Lauren Kilger (24 goals) and sophomore Ashley Stokes (15 goals) are expected to contribute once again.
The Knights begin their pursuit of a 2018 championship March 1 when they travel to San Juan Hills.