WARSAW – Warsaw girls soccer head coach Peter Lucht has found himself in an unenviable position in his second year.
For the second time in as many years he has guided the Lady Tigers, he is needing to fill a major position on the pitch following the graduation of one of the program’s finest players. His first year, it was all-time leading scorer Meredith Hollar. Now in his second year, it’s brick wall goalkeeper Abby Schue.
“Abby was a great keeper for us and surely will be tough to replace,” Lucht said, who led Warsaw to an 11-4-2 mark last season and a regional berth. “We have a few names we’re looking at, and all have different strengths. The goalkeeping position right now is a work in progress.”
Warsaw, despite the major loss of Schue and a handful of key graduates, still have a loaded roster and plenty of depth to carry it through.
Not generating the attention a Hollar did two years ago, junior midfielder Elizabeth Van Wormer still garnered her fair share of shadowing from opposing defenses. Van Wormer’s on the ball skills improved dramatically as a sophomore, and the notice paid by defenses allowed for players like Brooklyn Jackson to cash in.
Jackson scored in bunches last season, tallying five multi-goal games and 18 strikes in total to go with 11 assists. Van Wormer tucked home 14 goals and recorded six helpers while senior Danielle Hutcherson chipped in nine goals and 13 assists from the midfield position.
“On paper, we are much stronger than we were last year,” Lucht stated. “We have grown together as a team in the offseason and we are trying to take advantage of that. We have a lot of experience returning and some dynamic freshmen coming in that have a chance to come in right away and make an impact. Some of our players have elite athleticism and we are much deeper than we were last season.”
“Obviously, we can’t guarantee wins and losses, no one can predict the future,” offered Lucht. “But God has blessed us with a great roster. We are very talented and more than excited for the upcoming season.”
Lucht is hoping to also find contributions from seniors Clair Snodgrass, Megan Kratzsch and Pam Miller, sophomore Julie Frazzetta, freshman Sydney Weideman and someone from the group of Gabrielle Herman, Allison Hill and Rachel McClelland to step forward in keeping duties.
Lady Warriors Hoping To Regroup
There isn’t a good way to sugarcoat Wawasee’s 2013 girls soccer season. Scoring a scant one goal throughout its season, the Lady Warriors didn’t manage a win or tie while dealing with injuries and dwindling program numbers.
With really no where to go but up, Wawasee moves to 2014 with optimism on the mind, but work will be needed in more than a few ways. Doing so will require the Lady Warriors to build from the ground up with just two seniors in tow to open the campaign, but a host of girls coming back. Wawasee returns nine major contributors and nearly a dozen overall to the varsity side.
Highlighting the returners include a talented junior class in speedy Sarah Lancaster and an experienced trio of Darrian Rosenberry, Savannah Schwartz and Maddie Birch. Senior Caitlin Clevenger is a very versatile player that can play both up front and defensively, and sophomore Leigh-Ann Shrack led the JV team in goals last year with seven tallies. Junior Nicole Streby will start in net.
“We are already ahead of where we were at the end of the season last year. We just need to play to our potential,” said Wawasee head coach Doug Heinisch. “We are young, but in reality most of these girls played varsity at some point last year. We are sophomore and junior heavy, so we have some time to build.”
Whitko Dealing With Major Voids
Like Warsaw, Whitko graduated one of the top players to ever suit up in South Whitley. Granted, the Whitko program is less than half a decade old, but Ellyana Blue was quite an offensive force. Logging nine goals and 84 shots, Blue helped Whitko to a 5-7-4 record last season.
In just three seasons of Whitko existence, Blue tallied 29 goals and had a lot of supporting cast. With graduation of nine players from the roster, head coach Gary Sims will need to find some fancy footwork up not just up front, but all over, including goal where Jordan Hall held firm for multiple seasons.
Sims is looking to a deep junior and sophomore class to help fill the void, but hasn’t made any decisions as to whom will be slotted where.
“We have several strong returning players on both offense and defense,” offered Sims. “We did lose nine seniors and this year only having four, we are sophomore and junior heavy, only picking up one freshman so far. ”