Girls’ soccer starts season with a mostly veteran team

Around 50 girls tried out for a spot on the girls’ varsity soccer team last month, meaning many cuts had to be made because there are only 22 spots available.

“Typically we don’t take 22 players because if you max out on varsity, then you don’t have room to pull up any players come district time,” Coach Jenny Pazderak said. 

With limited spots available, the girls have been preparing for tryouts during the offseason.

“I prepared for tryouts by practicing with my club team and conditioning outside of practice so I can be game fit and ready for high-school season,” striker Bree Ehmer said. 

Being fit is important but it isn’t the only thing the coaches are looking for at tryouts.

“I need to make sure they are in shape and ready to work hard but also they need to show dedication, heart and the willingness to give it their all,” Pazderak said.

The finalized team includes 11 seniors.

“I am very confident about our team,” senior Maddie Uhlmeyer said. “We have strengths on both offense and defense. I’m super excited to see what we are capable of this year.” 

Even with four seniors leaving from last season, Pazderak remains confident about how the season will go.

“We have a really strong senior class this year, and with some juniors stepping up as well, so hopefully, as long as everybody stays healthy and focused, this can be a very, very good year for us,” she said.

The players are aiming to go far during the time of districts, possibly going the farthest they ever have.

“Our main goals the past few years has been to win a regional championship and make it to the final four of states,” senior Abigail Watson said.

The Lady Wildcats have come close to these goals in previous years and Watson said she believes this goal is possible this season. 

“It feels like with our solidified senior class and great new lower class additions that this goal is almost within our grasp,” she said.

Uhlmeyer, who tore her ACL, will not play this season.

“I’m still going to attend all practices and games and take on some of the roles as manager,” she said. “I will also be the biggest cheerleader for the team and encourage the players as best as I can.”

Ehmer appears ready to start the season.

“Everyone seems excited and more committed to the team than ever,” she said. “With half the team being seniors, we want to go out with a bang and give it everything we got.”

By Ava Dalessandro