Duneland Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Bridget Brendza, Sr., F; Madisyn Coudriet, Sr., D; Kristen Mabry, Sr., D; Bethany Molnar, Sr., D.
Outlook: Coach David Galloway said this year’s team reminds him a lot of the team that reached the semistate three years ago. “We’ve got that kind of commitment and camaraderie at this time, and I expect it to get stronger as we go through the season,” he said.
Players to watch: Jenna Arnold, Sr., MF; Anna Eksten, So., F; Lauren O'Keefe, Jr., MF; Meghan Morasan, Jr., GK.
Outlook: The Bulldogs lost seven seniors, including the last two Times players of the year in Sarah Rivich and Rachel Marczewski. Plenty of experienced talent is back, though. Arnold moves up from the back, and she will be one of the more exciting players in the area.
Players to watch: Brianna Dougherty, Jr., F; Kaileigh Kramer-Stephens, Sr., F; Lindsay Kusbel, Jr., GK.
Outlook: Julie Moore is the second season of what's become a Moore family tradition in coaching the Indians. The class of 2012 will be tough to replace, but L.C. is always dangerous and this season is no exception.
Players to watch: Brooke Pissarski, Sr., D; Johnna Belkeiwitz, Sr., MF; Macy Llewelyn, Fr., MF; Jo Campos, So., F.
Outlook: A strong senior class has the Slicers well ahead of where they were at this time a year ago and has coach Caitlin Mikita thinking LaPorte will pull off some surprises this year and finish in the top half of the league. “We are 10 steps ahead of where we were last year," she said.
Players to watch: Elizabeth Croy, Fr., MF; A.J. Marquez, Sr., F; Erika McClinton, So., D.
Outlook: Marquez returns and is healthy after missing last season with an injury. She was one of the most talented players in the area as a sophomore.
Players to watch: Paige Tharp, Sr., GK; Erin Callaghan, Sr., MF; Amanda Yadavia, Sr., D; Hannah Laux, So., F.
Outlook: The Wolves are young (just four seniors on the roster), but coach Stephanie Dege thinks the team is ahead of last year’s team at the same point in the season.
Players to watch: Carrie Prohl, Jr., MF; Maddie McCulloch, Fr., D; Alexis McDaniel, Jr., MF; Ally Clark, So., GK.
Outlook: The Indians have an influx of new players with freshmen and other players who have not previously come out for the team. Gina Swenson is excited about the prospect of what the new group can achieve this season.
Players to watch: Lauren Reineke, Sr., MF; Grace Withrow, Jr., MF; Kristina Veljovic, Sr., GK; Gigi Jarratt, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Vikings have some strong returning talent from last year’s team that reached the regional finals, including Reineke, who scored both goals in the regional semifinal win over Lake Central. Robert Cespedes’ team wants to get past the regional this season, and the Vikings have the talent to do it.
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Claudia Chavez, Sr., MF; Rosa Chavez, Jr., MF; Dulce Garcia, Sr., D; Brenda Rocha, Jr., F.
Outlook: The Pioneers have a program on the rise, as evidenced by the 26 players out for the squad this season. The word is spreading in the hallways at school.
Outlook: The Gladiators failed to notch a win last year. Avoiding the donut is the goal in 2013.
Players to watch: Alondra Munoz, Sr., MF; Elizabeth Navarro, Jr., MF.
Outlook: Conference MVP Erica Munoz is gone, but the Wildcats have eight starters returning from a team that ran the table in the regular season.
Player to watch: Jackie Cervantes, Sr. GK.
Outlook: A good goalie can keep any team in any game, and that's what coach John Chance has in Cervantes.
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Players to watch: Maddie Mandich, Sr., GK; Natalie Nowesnick, So., F; Danielle Tazic, Fr., MF.
Outlook: Coach Tony Pagorek hopes Nowesnick and Tazic can provide offensive firepower the 59ers have lacked the last few years. The team is young, as three starters left for club soccer. Liz Krilich now plays for St. Francis, but did help out with the team before leaving for school.
Players to watch: Yadi Castellanos, Sr., F; Emily Duhan, Sr., F; Lauen Hernandez, Sr., F.
Outlook: The face of Panther soccer for the last few years, Cindy McInerny, is at the University of Connecticut. But coach Wally Kudyba is excited about his freshman class, especially in the front. This team may still be a year or two away, though.
Players to watch: Paige Brown, Sr., F; Courtney Carpenter, Sr., MF; Karly Gragido, Sr., D; Anna Kerber, Sr., D; Breanne Williams, Sr., MF.
Outlook: Last year was a rebuilding year and coach Gordon Walker chalks the sub-.500 record up to inexperience. The thing may be built this season. Numbers are better than any point in Walker's tenure.
Players to watch: Sydney Hicks, Jr., MF; Heather Mock, So., MF; Camryn Rassbach, MF, So.
Outlook: The Brickies lost a lot of close games last year, which can be attributed to their youth. Colleen Newell's team is still relatively young, but there's a chip on their shoulder.
Players to watch: Natalie Lotz, Sr., MF; Haleigh Wenglarz, Sr., F; Hannah Wilder, Sr., F.
Outlook: It's the first head coaching job for Alex Conklin, but he's got a good team. Wilder and Lotz are back after missing last season playing club soccer. Those two, with Wenglarz, make up one of the most dynamic offenses in the area.
Players to watch: Kimberly Kasparian, Sr., F; Melissa McBride, Jr., D; Haley Farmer, Jr., F.
Outlook: Kim Gavelek is back at the helm for the Red Devils, but was brought on just before the start of training camp. Still, she said she sees a lot of potential once she gets the right players in the right spots of her diamond formation.
Players to watch: Cayla Bales, Jr., MF; Jessica Flores, Jr., MF; Allyson Goodrich, Sr., F; Sammi Koufos, Sr., MF; Alyssa Wojcik, Sr., D.
Outlook: Munster finished undefeated in the conference in two of the last three seasons. The Mustangs have the talent to do it again. The biggest question mark may be between the pipes, where the graduated Parin Patel recorded 10 shutouts.
Northwest Indiana Soccer Conference
Player to watch: Julia Kusiak, Sr., MF/F.
Outlook: Crystal Torres and Aaron Payonk will be co-coaches for the Warriors. Big things are expected from Kusiak, who is the team leader.
Players to watch: Olivia McCafferty, Sr., MF; Macy Miller, Sr., D; Elizabeth Barton, Jr. MF; Allie Hill, So., F.
Outlook: The Wolves, who also play in the PCC, lost three players from last year’s squad who are playing college soccer, and coach Chad Roggow thinks his young team will have a bit of a learning curve as the season goes on.
Outlook: The Knights have gotten better each of the last three seasons, but still haven't gotten over the hump and earned a postseason victory. Aaron deJager's squad earned double-digit wins last year before taking a disappointing 2-0 loss to Boone Grove in the sectional opener.
Outlook: There's a lot to replace – especially on offense – with the loss of Blayr Poston and the rest of the graduated class. The Wildcats' one-goal, first-round loss to Andrean last season still stings.
Players to watch: Rachel Pauer, Sr., F; Jenna Giacomin, Sr., D; Brittany Botts, Fr., MF; Mariah Wilson, Fr., MF.
Outlook: Coach Jim Schmidt’s Hawks, who also play in the PCC, will have a freshmen-heavy roster. Hebron’s freshmen and seniors will need some time to gel, but this is a squad that has a chance to claim a league title.
Players to watch: Madeline Wood, Sr., MF; Stephanie Espar, Sr. D; Maggie Mellen, So., F.
Outlook: The Blazers have to replace six seniors from last year’s team, but coach Lacey Hersman is excited because there are more players out for the team than in previous years.
Players to watch: Katie Piotrowski, Sr., GK/MF; Amber Stainko, Sr., MF; Marie Clemons, Sr., MF.
Outlook: The Blackhawks, who also play in the PCC, will have seven freshmen on the roster, and coach Karl Kugler will look to his senior class to lead the way.
Players to watch: Shannon Eden, Jr., MF; Lauren Fratzke, So., MF; Terra Phillips, So., F; Kelly Frey, So., MF.
Outlook: The Bearcats had some heavy losses from last year’s squad due to graduation, but coach Bryan Murray is confident the team will continue to improve throughout the season. “We’re a work in progress,” he said. “We’re going to get there. The question is when.”
Porter County Conference
Players to watch: Miranda Birmingham, Jr., MF; Chloe Dierdorf, Sr., F; Breezy McCall, Sr., MF.
Outlook: The Fillies enter their second season as a varsity team by picking up where they left off last fall with a 4-2-1 mark. Coach Tim Schwartz said he has noticed a marked improvement from the beginning of last season to the beginning of this one.
Players to watch: Heather Burton, Jr., F; Liz Masson, Sr., F; Natalie Rokosz, Jr., F; Katherine Sullivan, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Senators return their top two leading scorers (Burton and Rokosz) from last season, so Ron Goodaker’s team should be one of the top offensive teams in the league.
Outlook: Eric Moreno is in his second season coaching the Cardinals, who have some of the nicest facilities in the region. E.C.C. hopes to build on last year's one-win campaign.
— David P. Funk, Andrew Stem