WARSAW – It’s been easy to watch Warsaw girls soccer over the past decade or so and get caught up in mind-boggling numbers. When the top three scorers in the program’s history have taken the pitch almost consecutively, offense has certainly been on the menu.
But what happens when they’re gone?
Ashley Kitchens, Meredith Hollar and Liz Van Wormer will go down as three of the greatest scorers the area has ever seen. Van Wormer, who graduated this past year, left with over half of the all-time leading scorer records. Those records erased several from Hollar, and Hollar shredded several of Kitchens’ marks.
Can anyone keep up that type of pace? Or does anyone need to for a program that won its first Northern Lakes Conference title in 13 years despite a 14-2-1 overall mark?
“I think this group is really special on and off the field,” said Warsaw senior Julie Frazzetta. “We have so many talented soccer players, and young ones at that, and our chemistry is just really good. I think we’ll be strong again this year.”
Frazzetta did most of the dirty work, the quiet work that no one noticed. For the stat hounds, she recorded a hearty one goal and two assists all of last season. Her banners fly on the work done marking opposing forwards and wingers. Let it be known, if there were stats for jersey tugs, clipped ankles and frustrated glares, Frazzetta would compete for the team lead.
Defensively, Frazzetta and company were stingy. As a team, the Tigers allowed just 18 goals in regulation last season. A 19th tally on the board, however, came in the penalty shootout against Culver Academy in the sectional championship that knocked Warsaw out of the state tournament. Frazzetta’s comments were short and to the point about the loss, “We didn’t forget what that felt like.”
In a roster makeup where Warsaw insists on playing possession soccer through switches and through balls, Frazzetta’s role is actually just as important as anything Van Wormer did on the ball. Playing passes down the wing, Frazzetta’s distribution has been smart. Her cerebral work, both vocally and in training, earned her a captain’s armband in between this interview.
“I used to not be very tough. It was a confidence issue,” Frazzetta offered, her voice slightly dropping an octave. “It’s tough. But I love getting assists, helping teammates. I know I’m not the one who is going to be in the headlines, but I think that helps my game. With my spot in the midfield, it doesn’t phase me to not be the star. I want to see my teammates all do well. Us as a team.”
And moments later after learning she would be one of three team captains, along with Breck Jackson and Dayle Harvey, “I’ve always respected the seniority in this program. Now being the senior, and being named a captain, I feel that responsibility of being a captain. It’s exciting to be put in that position.”
Frazzetta may have to pick up some of the offensive pace as injuries ran rampant through the program in the offseason. Time is healing wounds, but head coach Peter Lucht isn’t walking into 2016 with any sort of sense of entitlement.
“The quality of character is the first thing we are looking for in captains, but for our team in general,” said Lucht. “(Frazzetta) loves setting a positive tone for the group and is exactly what I’m looking for in a captain. As a four-year starter, she knows what it takes to be successful in this program.
“We hope for a natural progression for every player, but we aren’t asking anyone specifically to step in and try to score 30 goals. It’s not on Jules’ shoulders, or anyone else. But saying that, she is capable of providing some offense, and would think she would be more active in the offense.”
Warsaw will open its season Monday, Aug. 15, hosting Fort Wayne Carroll, the only team last year to beat Warsaw in the regular season.