Ashley Severs expects the first few games to be a little nerve-wracking, but the 2004 Portage grad believes she'll be up to the challenge.
Severs is the new girls soccer head coach with the Indians. She was an assistant last year under former head coach Amanda Isakson. Severs also spent two years with Wheeler's girls soccer program as junior varsity coach and varsity assistant.
In high school, Severs played four years on varsity — all at center midfield.
"I'm excited," Severs said. "I'm a very organized person. I take it in stride. So far, the girls have been receptive to the change.
"I'm not worried."
Severs also feels comfortable for other reasons.
New athletic director Kelly Bermes thinks very highly of Severs.
"She has an outstanding rapport with the players and a tremendous work ethic," Bermes said of Severs. "I am confident that Ashley and her staff will begin developing a successful women's soccer program."
Bermes' three children all played soccer for the Indians, which makes Severs believe she has some common ground.
"It's a great feeling to have someone in the office who understands what it takes to be a soccer player," Severs said. "I don't have to explain our needs."
Severs also has a connection with her coaching staff, which includes Renee Grant, Jesse Mendez and Matt Hutchins. Grant, a 2003 Indians grad, played prep soccer with Severs. Mendez coached Severs in travel soccer. Also, all three assistants have played with Severs on coed soccer teams.
"Matt's a goalie. Between Matt and the rest of us, we know all of the positions and can bounce things off one another," Severs said. "It makes it a lot of fun. We're all on the same page."
Severs knows her team will be very young, but senior and returning leading scorer Nicki Monahan is back in the fold.
"Nicki is obviously a great player, just a great all-around athlete," Severs said of Monahan, an All-Duneland Athletic Conference selection last season. "She provides the team with great leadership.
"We're a very young team, and we're trying to build a foundation. This will be an uphill climb."