Scouting Local Girls Soccer Teams
Duneland Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Ashton Balch, Sr., MF/F; Katie Behrendt, Sr., MF/F; Abbey Beierwalter, Sr., MF/F; Amanda Kollar, Sr., F.; Catherine Pannekoek, Sr., D; Lauren Seawright, Sr., D.
Outlook: All-district selection Seawright and seven other starters return to the lineup, but several players could be at different positions this season for first-year coach David Galloway.
Quote: "I feel very confident that they should be fairly successful. Chemistry will be the key with this team. I didn't come into this with any preconceptions, so we're seeing where everyone can help the team the best." -- Galloway.
Players to watch: Beth Rothrock, Sr., F; Sarah Rivich, So., SW; Amy Adams, Jr., MF; Danielle Haranois, Jr. D.
Outlook: Crown Point lost a huge senior class that included Sammy Vercellino, an all-stater who is now playing at Division I High Point. But coach Chris Mikrut has enough firepower to keep the Bulldogs in the Duneland race.
Quote: "(We have) a very talented young team who has added some depth to four excellent seniors which should help us compete against the area's best." -- Mikrut.
Players to watch: Lauren Doreski, So., F; Hillary Campbell, Jr., F; Jane Gates, Jr., F.
Outlook: L.C. never seems to be lacking talent, but replacing last year's senior class is going to be tough. Still, the Indians are the only region team ranked by the Indiana Coaches Association (No. 17).
Quote: "There is a lot of talent on this team and I am excited to see which players 'woo' the crowd." -- Coach Lori Smith.
Players to watch: Holly Buresh, Sr., G; Kelsey Tuholski, Sr., MF; Carlie Erne, Jr., D; Kelsie Zawada, Jr., F.
Outlook: Zawada is the top returning scorer, and Buresh should anchor the defense. First-year coach Bryan Murray expects to see improvements this season.
Quote: "Our program made large strides this summer, but we have a gap to close in the Duneland Conference. The girls have bought into a new system and are excited about the upcoming season. We will be more competitive and disciplined this fall than in past years." -- Murray.
Players to watch: Daniella Carbajal, Sr., MF; Kaitlyn Yockey, Sr., F.
Outlook: Coach Ben Daniel has numbers way up in his second second season at the helm for the Pirates. That means more talent and more competition, which can only be good things.
Quote: "We may not win but we will be much more competitive in all of our games."-- Daniel.
Players to watch: Jillian Bates, Sr., SW; Laura Holloway, Sr., D; Betsy Carpenter, Jr. G; Kelsey Pawloski, Jr. F; Stephanie Zila, Jr., F.
Outlook: Junior Ashleigh Ellenwood, who scored 59 goals that last two campaigns, opted out of the prep season to play club ball in Illinois. Pawloski scored 28 goals last season, one less than Ellenwood's sophomore total, so offense might not be an issue. Zila returns from a season-ending collarbone injury as a sophomore, junior midfielder Rachel Gonder returns to the club after spending a year at the Indiana Academy and freshman midfielder Erin Callaghan will bolster the lineup.
Quote: "Everybody is upbeat, and we're not focusing on what we lost. We looking at what we gained." -- Coach Stephanie Dege.
Players to watch: Kristen Ashby, Sr., F/MF; Carly Bermes, Sr., MF; Abby Clark, D; Nicki Monahan, So., MF/F; Natalie Nacovski, Fr., MF/F.
Outlook: Leading scorer Tara Ellis is now at Valparaiso University, but the defending sectional champions still have a quality group of experienced players that return to the lineup.
Quote: "Our team is heavy with seniors and a large incoming freshman class. Adjusting to one another's strengths will determine how the season pans out." -- Coach Amanda Isakson.
Players to watch: Kara Webb, Sr. MF; Kate Johnson, Jr. MF; Emma Kurt, So., G; Kaylee Pullins, So., F; Andrea Violanti, So., MF.
Outlook: The Vikings lost in the opening round of the sectional to Kankakee Valley, but the team already avenged that outcome with a 4-0 season-opening win over the Kougars. The team returns several experienced players to the lineup.
Quote: "I feel very good about this year. We have a lot of great players coming back that will make a strong impact for us." --Coach Robert Cespedes.
Northwest Crossroads Conference
Player to watch: Brenna Parks, Sr., D; Gabby Wojkovich, So., D; Liz Krilich, So., D.
Outlook: Coach Tony Pagorek says he's focusing on "defense first, defense second and offense third," this season. And with the returning players in the defensive third, the 59ers could be a tough team on which to score.
Quote: "We have a hopeful outlook that some of our transfers and freshman can make an offensive impact this seas." -- Pagorek.
Players to watch: Katelyn Barta, Sr., F; Krystal Mendoza, So. F; Cindy McInerny, So., MF.
Outlook: Barta can score with anybody, but she's also going to have to step up and be a leader on a young team. It won't be quite as easy this time around to repeat as N.C.C. champs.
Quote: "We have an assortment of scorers. Our skills are good." -- Coach Ric Gonzalez.
Players to watch: Kat Smailis, Sr., F; Katie Novocel, Sr., MF; Nikki Goodeve, Jr., MF; Kate Walker, Jr., D; Meredith Garcia, Jr., MF.
Outlook: The Trojans return quite a bit of talent and experience from last season, but the injury bug has already bitten. If this team can stay healthy, it can compete with anyone who steps on the pitch.
Quote: "Things are up in the air right now, but we'll be fine by October. I expect us to do well." -- Coach Gordon Walker.
Players to watch: Kim Tokarski, Sr., MF; Sara Jackson, Sr., D; Kammie Miller, Sr., MF.
Outlook: The loss to Crown Point in last year's sectional championship is still fresh in the minds of the Brickies. Almost everybody is back from last year, led by Kim Tokarski. This team could make some noise.
Players to watch: Tiffany Conley, Sr., MF.
Outlook: Last season was the best in K.V. history, as the Kougars were 17-3-1 and were regional champs. Unfortunately, most of that team is gone and it's time to rebuild.
Players to watch: Nikki Melendez, Sr., F; Kelly Sauter, Sr., Sw.
Outlook: Ben Elvira takes over the Devils' coaching duties from Kim Gavelek to lead a team in transition.
Players to watch: Eleni Agelopoulos, Sr., F; Kori Kirby, Sr., MF; Emily Koufos, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Mustangs showed grit in the postseason last year. The talent and drive is back to put on the second act of that play.
Quote: "We obviously hope to have a repeat performance from last year, but to avoid the abrupt ending in the first semi-state game." -- Coach Valerie Pflum.
Great Lakes Athletic Conference
Players to watch: Tara Zambrano, Sr., F; Miriam Guerrero, Sr., F; Barbara Maciel, Jr., MF; Naomi Moreno, Jr., F; Ashley Arambula, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Pioneers are experienced and may be poised to pounce on the GLAC in a rebuilding year for Morton. Coach Dave Ralston is retired from the classroom but says he has an "open-ended contract with God" when it comes to coaching.
Quote: "We just hope to put a competitive product on the market. If we get to October, cool." -- Ralston.
Players to watch: Caroline Orozco, Jr., MF.
Outlook: Gavit may be a bit stronger than in years past, but it will probably still have trouble competing in the GLAC this season.
Players to watch: Priscilla Perez, Jr., D; Angelica Rodriguez, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Wildcats will be improved and more experienced. This team could have a shot in what may be a down year in the conference.
Players to watch: Rebekkah Serrano, Sr., MF; Kim Johnson, Sr., MF; Skyler Mata, Jr., F: Courtney Castle, Jr., D.
Outlook: Chrissy Torres takes over the head coaching duties, but the loss of Vanessa Hernandez and the rest of a strong senior class from last season will be difficult to overcome in a single year. The Govs have owned the GLAC, but they may finally relinquish their grasp on that trophy.
Northern Indiana Soccer Conference
Players to watch: Kelsey Heinz, Sr., MF; Jessica Seles, Jr. MF.
Outlook: Coach Lorenza Jara has built the Warriors into a team to be reckoned within the N.I.S.C. A healthy Seles scoring goals will be a big help. This just may be the season Noll takes the next step and competes for a conference title.
Quote: "If the girls continue improving and begin communicating we will do well in our conference and look to continue to raise the bar." -- Jara.
Players to watch: Paige Aguilera, So., MF/F; Mackenzie Starcevich, So., MF; Kallie Fuller, Sr., MF; Jordan Chester, Sr., F; Taylor Kemp, Sr., D.
Outlook: Aguilera is a scoring machine and several other key players return to the lineup for the defending league champions. Freshman Rachel Gerhardt (goalie, midfield) and Olivia McCafferty (defense, midfield) are quality additions to the lineup.
Quote: "We might not always get the numbers, but we always seem to get quality players. To constantly get talent like this is remarkable. I feel pretty lucky more than anything else." -- Coach Chad Roggow.
Players to watch: Caitlin Schmal, Jr., D; Burnadette Sackalaris, So., G.
Outlook: Jim Pattison jumps up from the middle school ranks to take over the head coaching job from the well-respected Robin Hofer. Only time will tell what this team can do.
Players to watch: Kaylie Asher, Sr., G; Paige Hickenbottom, Sr., F; Katy Schmidt, Sr., F; Rachel McCullough, Jr., MF; Sydnee Bartz, So. D.
Outlook: Schmidt scored five goals in the team's season-opening victory, and freshman Rachel Pauer adds some offensive depth for the Hawks. On defense, Bartz will take over anchoring the defense, since Alex Lau was lost to graduation.
Quote: "Overall, I think overall we are more experienced. We're really focusing on defense this season. Sydnee is going to have to learn quickly (in the back)." -- Coach Jim Schmidt.
Players to watch: Livy Haas, Sr., D; Mary Salyer, Jr., F; Sydney Mussman, So, SW; Anna Weber, So., MF.
Outlook: The Blazers lost seven players to graduation, but this squad is infused with new faces. Freshman Madeline Wood should start at midfield, while senior Carol Flores, a Michigan City transfer, could start on defense.
Quote: "We actually have more new players than returning players. The new players are stepping up and picking things up pretty well." -- Coach Bret Darrell.
Players to watch: Breanna McLane, Sr., MF; Shawnna Ramer, Sr., F.
Outlook: Ramer and McLane are both quite versatile, giving first-year coach Jackie Boo some flexibility with her lineup. The team returns 13 players from last season, and six newcomers have been added.
Quote: "For most of my girls, this is their first, second or third year playing soccer -- ever. We have had to start with the basics. The amazing thing about these girls is that they are motivated, fun and willing to do what it takes to learn the sport. Our goal this year is to play each team with intensity and to play a little bit better against them than we did last year." -- Boo.
Players to watch: Brooke Hutchins, Sr., F; Kaylin Foster, Jr., MF/F; Erinn Gallagher, Jr., D; Christina Gandy, Jr., G; Abby Zeitler, Jr., MF.
Outlook: Hutchins returns from season-ending knee injury, while Gandy is back in the lineup after a knee injury during basketball season. The Bearcats return most of their nucleus for former Morgan Twp. boys soccer coach Todd Syren.
Quote: "This team is complete. They work very well together." -- Syren.
Players to watch: Sandra Lozano, Sr., F.
Outlook: The talent has always been there for E.C.C., but the program always seems to be in flux.
Players to watch: Alexa Gagner, Jr., G; Phillips, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Bombers should be strong in the defensive third, but scoring may be an issue at times.