Mix of newcomers, experience helping Quincy out of CWAC cellar

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Connor Vanderweyst/Columbia Basin Herald Quincy defender Rebekah Castro (4) clears the ball away from Warden forward Aaliyah Escamilla earlier in the season.

Quincy entered the locker room at East Valley down 3-1 at halftime.

In the past, the team would shrug its shoulders, give up a few more goals and play out the string until the final whistle blew.

But this year is different.

Quincy showed off its revamped defense with a second-half shutout, allowing the offense to tie the game and freshman Emily Wurl to score the game-winner in overtime.

A full blown win-streak? Wins in four of its last five games? Tied for first place in the Central Washington Athletic Conference (CWAC) at the start of league play?

“I think a lot of it has to do with these girls just finally getting their mentality to stay where they believe in themselves and they actually aren’t going into games thinking that, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose today,’” first-year head Francisco Tafoya said. “So I think that’s a big turnaround for us.”

Turnaround might be putting it mildly.

From 2013 to 2017, the Jacks’ girls soccer team totaled five wins; their best season in recent memory was a six-win campaign in 2012. This season, Quincy is already 5-2-1 overall and is tied for first place in the CWAC with Ephrata, Grandview and Selah at 2-0. Quincy’s two losses have come against Warden and Selah, who are a combined 16-0.

“We’re just playing a lot more organized,” Tafoya said. “I think we finally got our formation and what I would consider to probably be our starting line, but we’ve still got a lot of options in our bench that could be very viable for us the rest of the season.”

Quincy’s roster is a nice mix of underclassmen ready to change the program’s perception and a handful of upperclassmen bridging the gap. Wurl burst onto high school athletics with a hat trick in her first varsity game. Wurl, Sheridan Donovan, Lillian Pena, Stephanie Aguirre, Nayeli Salazar and Shannon Workinger are all freshmen finding their way in their first season on varsity.

“They just brought a lot of energy with them,” Tafoya said. “I know they’ve been together since probably about the age of seven or eight and it’s good to have a group of girls that we don’t really have to go and explain the rules of the game, too much knowledge about the game of soccer — they’ve already come with it.”

Tafoya also highlighted senior captains Hailey McKee and Giselle Hernandez for their ability to integrate the younger players with the rest of the seniors and junior on the roster.

“They’ve kept the team gelled together pretty well,” he said.

Quincy will find out about its grit this week, hosting Ephrata on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before traveling to Grandview on Thursday.

“I feel like if these girls actually go out mentally stable to where they want this game, we can maybe just give Ephrata a tough challenge and put a couple goals on them,” Tafoya said.

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