WARSAW – There are a lot of new faces on the field this fall for the Warsaw girls soccer team.
It looked, however, like the same old story Monday night as the tradition-rich Tiger program opened its 2013 campaign.
Warsaw, under the direction of new coach Peter Lucht, had an opener to remember by blanking Culver 7-0 at WCHS.
Junior Brooklyn Jackson tallied four goals and added a pair of assists for good measure to lead the rout.
Warsaw, which graduated nine seniors from its 13-5-2 squad, has impressed their new coach.
“I just feel very grateful to be here,” said Lucht, who played his senior year at WCHS and then went on to play at Grace College. “God has blessed me. I have a phenomenal group of young ladies here.”
The Tigers, who won their third straight sectional championship in 2012, dominated the contest in every aspect. Star sophomore Elizabeth VanWormer had a pair of goals and junior Danielle Hutcherson one for Warsaw. Hutcherson also had two assists and VanWormer and Pam Miller one each for the Tigers in the win.
Warsaw stellar senior keeper Abby Schue was hardly tested. The Grace College recruit, who had 10 shutouts last year and 14 in goal as a sophomore, only had to make a pair of fairly tough saves, including a fine diving stab late in the opening half. She finished with five total saves in the victory.
“Abby is a great keeper and and leads by example,” said Lucht. “It was great to see her being vocal out there tonight.”
The Tigers led 3-0 at halftime on a pair of goals by Jackson and one from VanWormer. The hosts quickly doubled their lead to 6-0 with a trio of tallies in the first five minutes of the second half. Lucht then went to his reserves for a majority of the final half.
“We have a very unselfish group and a number of dynamic players on this team,” stated Lucht. “You can definitely start with No. 8 (Jackson) and 10 (VanWormer).
“Our midfield is strong and we are preaching to make the right decisions with the ball. We want to breed a culture of great decisions and I think we have players to do that.”
The Tigers lost a ton of talent from last year’s squad, including star Meredith Hollar. Hollar set the program’s all-time scoring record with 67 career goals, despite missing her entire junior year and eight games last season due to a knee injury. Hollar, who is now playing at Grace College, had 25 goals last fall.
Lucht, who has just four seniors on his squad, says expectations are very high despite so many losses from a year ago.
“From the beginning, I set the bar high,” said Lucht, who previously served as the boys coach at Wawasee. “There may be an assumption that with almost an entire starting unit gone that there would be a step back this year. That’s not the case. There are opportunities there and we have girls stepping up. There are also leadership opportunities that we have players filling too.”
Warsaw had a 21-7 edge in shots and an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks in the victory.
The Tigers play in the Fort Wayne Snider Invitational Saturday. Warsaw opens conference play by hosting Plymouth Aug. 27 at 5 p.m.