Area sides will be bringing in the new in 2013.
Two new head coaches — Darcy Earley at Hall and Chawn Huffaker at Mendota, a new varsity program in DePue and massive roster turnovers for both Princeton and Huffaker’s Lady Trojans will mean a new crop of area talent will get a chance to shine on the pitch.
Coach: Darcy Earley
Season outlook: The young Lady Red Devils and first-year coach Earley are focusing on basics as the fledgling Hall program — which will play only a varsity schedule with 17 girls — continues to develop in it’s third varsity season.
“I have some young girls that have come out and been very helpful to the team — they’re pushing the other ones to do more. If I can get everybody on board working as hard as those girls, I think they can go somewhere,” Earley said. “I think you should see some significant improvement throughout the season. They’re working hard on concepts they haven’t heard before. I’m just trying to teach them different strategies about the game — what we want to do, what we want to accomplish.”
Junior captain Maria Villalobos will anchor the defense with fellow junior defender Rebecca Schmidt, while junior Hope Connor will start in net.
Offensively, senior captain forward/midfielder Alicia Detmers will look to spark the Lady Red Devil attack along with junior striker Vanessa Olivares, freshman speedster Alicyn Olson at midfielder/forward and fellow midfielder/forward Adriana Avila, a sophomore.
Coach: Chawn Huffaker
Last year: 17-6
Season outlook: The Lady Trojans lost nine starters from last year’s regional championship squad to graduation, but will have some serious double trouble back in the form of sophomore twin sisters Abby and Ally Bromenschenkel, who combined for 32 goals last season as the team’s two leading scorers.
“Pretty much our only varsity experience is the two sophomore Bromenschenkel twins, who started as freshman last year. So I’m pretty sure nobody’s expecting hardly anything out of us. But that’s alright, I like being the underdog,” Huffaker said.
Senior forward Marissa Bonnell also will be called upon to help the Bromenschenkels up front.
Junior midfielders Monica Leonard and Jasmine Arteaga — who Huffaker said are “dying” to make their varsity debuts — will be asked to step up and control the middle of the pitch, while senior Brianna Correa, an NT All-Area pick who scored nine goals last spring, will make the move from defense to midfield this year.
Senior Rubi Artea, who has some junior varsity goalkeeping experience, will step into net as part of what Huffaker deems, “a brand new” defense for the Lady Trojans.
“We’re starting over, but that’s exactly what we did with the boys (in the fall) and we ended up being two games over .500 on the season. So that’s what we’re hoping for, to start the program off,” Huffaker said.
Coach: Holly Hall
Last year: 7-10-1
Season outlook: The Lady Pirates — in their in third year of existence — will look to build off last year’s season as the program continues to develop.
Aiding the maturation process will be senior striker Brigitte Flowers, who blossomed into one of the area’s top scorers with a team-high 17 goals in her junior campaign.
Helping Flowers with some of the offensive load will be junior forward Emma O’Dell (7 goals, 5 assists in 2012).
“I feel like we have been continuously moving forward and I’m hoping for an even better year this year with the girls we have returning in addition to some new players as well,” said Hall, who has 10 seniors on this year’s squad that she has coached all the way from the club level their freshman year.
Defensively, senior Emily Peterson will take charge in goal surrounded by classmates Sydney Beyer, Natalie Conrad, Vanezza Buendia and Samntha Rowe as well as sophomore Cambria Threadgill.
Coach: Ed Young
Last year: 20-5-1
Season outlook: The Tigresses lose all-time leading scorer Jasmine Kunkel to graduation as well as five other NewsTribune All-Area players and nine total starters from last year’s sectional champion squad.
Senior sweeper/stopper Lexi Marselle returns to help anchor the defense along with junior goalkeeper Kelly Schmidt — who started the majority of last year’s contests in net — but those will be the only two returning starters for the Tigresses who have just four seniors, including two who did not suit up last season.
“We’re going to be a youthful team, and there’s going to be pros and cons. You have a challenge of getting them prepared for what to expect at the varsity level and coming together as a team. But the upside is they’re dynamic, excited, energetic and somewhat naïve even, so they get after things and play as hard as they can for as long as they can,” Young said.
Junior right halfback Emma Reidner — who saw varsity time last year — and junior left halfback Liz Stites will be counted on to help fuel the PHS offense. Other newcomers in the mix offensively will be junior center midfielder Michelle Kelly — the NT Volleyball Player of the Year — and freshman center midfielder Eliza Young — Ed Young’s daughter — as well as sophomore forward Keyenna Altizer.
Coach: Tim Stevens
Last year: N/A
Season outlook: In their first full year of varsity competition, Stevens and the Lady Little Giants will look to set the foundation for a successful future.
The squad will be young with only five seniors and no juniors on the 23 girl roster, but will have some returners back from last year’s JV-only team to help ease the transition to this year’s light varsity schedule of six regular season games and a trip to the Orion Tournament.
Senior defenders Alicia Marquez and Jessica Gavina will be back to bolster the defense in front of freshman keeper Marisela Garcia, who will start the season in net.
Freshman forward Marisol Rios should provide some punch to the Lady Little Giants offense.
“Basically, we’re just looking to develop organized soccer, get away from a ‘kick ball’ unorganized kind of thing,” Stevens said. “The goal is honestly just to play organized soccer — play together as a team.
“I think there’s wins to be had by the team. They won a few (JV) games last year, so I think we should be able to win a few this year. Last year we didn’t get blown ou, we were competitive in every game.”
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.