TUMWATER — Life changing is how CeCe Noyen describes her time as a goalkeeper at Black Hills High School.
Noyen said playing in goal was the best soccer decision she has made.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to play any other position now that I’ve experienced this,” Noyen said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
When coach Allen Anderson arrived at Black Hills from Class 2B Napavine last season, the Wolves had no goalkeeper on the varsity roster.
Noyen had been a junior-varsity wing. All of her soccer experience was at midfield and forward, even dating back to her days in youth soccer.
But Anderson had a hunch about the 5-foot-7 Noyen. He thought her strong hands, from a background in basketball, made her right for playing goalkeeper.
Switching from being a field player who used her feet to being a largely immobile player protecting the goal with her hands wasn’t the easiest transition, but she embraced it.
“Ever since then,” Anderson said, “she’s made it her own. She is a rock for us in the back.”
Of Black Hills’ 14 wins in 2012, Noyen and her defense notched five shutouts for a team that just missed a fourth consecutive 2A state playoff appearance.
Noyen has had to learn how to play a demanding position, such as reading angles, how to use her hands and how to communicate with her defense.
But more importantly, her newfound love for playing goalkeeper has taught her life lessons outside of soccer.
Much of that came in the classroom; an almost straight-A student last year, Noyen now knows how detail-oriented she needs to be.
“That was one of my proudest moments,” Noyen said. “It helps me out in every way.”
Teammate and friend Whitney Lowe, who has scored eight goals this season, said Noyen’s growth and maturation have helped in her development in goal. Already through the Wolves’ four games, Noyen has two shutouts and has allowed only two goals. Her shutouts were 7-0 over White River and 4-0 over Hazen.
“You can tell by her reactions and her confidence that she’s getting better,” Lowe said. “She comes out with such confidence. I had a good feeling she was going to be good from the start.”
3 storylines to watch
Wealth of scoring, defense at Olympia
Olympia hasn’t won the 4A Narrows League title since 2006, but coaches around the league think the Bears could challenge South Kitsap for the league crown this season. There’s no shortage of scoring potential with junior strikers Brooklyn Hooper and Sarah Snodgrass leading the charge. Snodgrass already posted a hat trick in the Bears’ season-opening 4-1 win over Capital. Junior Megan Spataro anchors a defense that surrendered just seven goals in 2012.
Tradition continues at Black Hills
Already off to a 3-0-1 start and outscoring its opponents, 17-2, Black Hills’ blistering team speed might put the Wolves a step ahead of others in the 2A Evergreen Conference. Senior Whitney Lowe and junior Arin Seidlitz combined for the majority of the Wolves’ offense in 2012 – 40 goals and 16 assists. Lowe, an NCAA Division I prospect, already has a hat trick in the three games she’s played.
North Thurston = experienced
This could be North Thurston’s breakout season if the new faces on the defense can mesh early. Coach Brian Bigelow returns 10 starters from a team that reached the playoffs for the second consecutive year and went 7-7-3. The Powell sisters – seniors Chandini and Manisha – are four-year letterwinners and returning first- and second-team all-Narrows 3A players, respectively.
12 PLAYERS TO WATCH
GK CeCe Noyen, Black Hills, sr.
MF Chandini Powell, North Thurston, sr.
MF Leah Magee, Timberline, so.
MF Arin Seidlitz, Black Hills, jr.
D Megan Spataro, Olympia, jr.
D Lauren Brandt, Tumwater, sr.
D Emily Krall, North Thurston, sr.
D Morgan Bernethy, River Ridge, sr.
F Krista Jones, Timberline, sr.
F Logan Cox, Capital, sr.
F Whitney Lowe, Black Hills, sr.
F Brooklyn Hooper, Olympia, jr.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick email@example.com