Steelheads Team Defense Leads The Way In NWPLi

Left to right: Anna Roslander, Jordyn Bartelson, Mariah Roggow, Kaitlin MacKenzie, Kylee Billings.

SNOHOMISH, WA—The Snohomish County FC Steelheads defense has been the best in the Northwest Premier League Indoor so far this season. In five matches the Fish have given up just 17 goals. That’s a paltry 3.4 goals per match. It’s a big reason why the Fish are 3-1-1, in second place, and fighting for a spot in the league final.

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The fantastic Steelhead Power Play Defense was on full display Saturday night at the Snohomish Sports Dome as Oly Town FC were awarded a player-advantage (power play) with just over two minutes to go and Snohomish with a 6-5 lead. The video below has those final frantic minutes.

Goalkeeper Kaitlin Mackenzie (Lake Stevens HS, The Evergreen State College) has won a NWPLi Defender of the Week award. this season. She’s the backbone and last stop for the Snohomish Power Play Killers. “My role on defense is to make sure everyone knows where to go and who to mark,” Kaitlin explains, “…and of course also denying and cleaning up anything that may squeak through.”

Mariah Roggow (Kelso HS, Western Washington University) has also won the same weekly award. “My roles as a defender are to organize my team on defense, stop counter attacks, and to prevent shots from our opponents,” she says, adding “Our defenders trust and work tirelessly for each other.”

Mariah Roggow on offense: this photo shows her winding up to score the Steelheads’ second goal which spurred a comeback before halftime. Anna Roslander waits near the wall for a possible rebound. (Brit Litwin)

Roggow also says “Our goal is to win. And we make sure we leave it all out on the field. Working together and constantly communicating are ways we approach our power play defense.”

Jordyn Bartelson, (Puyallup HS, Western Washington University) like Roggow, can turn up the defense and turn it around to score goals as well. “We have a strong defense all the way around with players who can make big plays defensively and offensively,” Jordyn says.

Kylee Billings (Monroe HS, Minnesota State University Moorhead) is also a big part of the team defense. Saturday she ended the match with a clearance that eventually fell to the feel of Bartelson for the final goal.

Maggie Tonkin shields for Kaitlin Mackenzie as she dives for the ball. Megan Jones has the near side of the goal covered. (Brit Litwin)

Team Effort

It has taken a team effort to keep opponents out of the net. When Anna Roslander (Newport HS, Eastern Oregon University) took a shot to the face in those final frantic moments against Oly Town, Maggie Tonkin was ready to take her place. That’s just the way MacKenzie likes it. “Our defense is comprised of so many different skill sets,” the shot stopper says. “All of them can be utilized at different points of the game.”

She’s the very last line of defense, but Kaitlin sees the work going on before the ball ever gets to her. “I am so blessed with the defensive strength of this team,” she says. “I love every one of the defenders and to be honest I love this team!”

Jordyn Bartelson (left) and Kylee Billings (right) provide support for Kaitlin MacKenzie as another shot comes at the Snohomish County goal. (Brit Litwin)

Maggie Tonkin helped with this feature article.

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