GHS sets sights on NCIC, state titles
With the success of last year’s squad and with many of those members returning, this year’s Lady Leaf soccer squad will have to watch out behind them as they will be playing with a target on their backs all year.
“Every year there is a team that needs to be beaten and we are that team right now,” said head coach Ian Kline. “We need to work extra hard to be at the top of our game no matter who we play. We will definitely be tested every game and there is no team out there that will just submit to us.”
With 44 girls in the program, coach?Kline anticipates he will have 20 on varsity and stated he is happy with the numbers.
“The varsity is doing very well, but obviously you always want more,” said Kline. “Their attitude is very good and the atmosphere is very good, along with their work ethic. They are definitely in the right mind set.
“I love the fact they are ready to go and learn even more. Last year’s success gives them a bit of an edge, so they should know each other very well and they can build on where we left off last year.”
The senior members of this year’s squad who will look to lead this year’s team are Lauren?DeBuysere, Kaitlyn Ebarb, Alyssa Patterson, Camille Repass, Danielle Springer, Jordan Wagner, Meghan Wethington and Claire Wiese.
“I always want to see the seniors step up and lead by example and be positive role models,” said Kline. “They have a lot of knowledge and they have been there and very successful. They need to understand nothing will be given to us and that we are the team everyone wants to beat.”
The juniors on the team include Karmen Causemaker, Alli DeSmith, Jamie Kelley, Rachel Milroy, Jessica Redecker, Kylie Rotz, Paige Wahlig and Lizzie Wolak.
“I see the excitement in their faces playing with the girls on varsity last year,” said Kline. “And they are working hard.”
Other members of the program are sophomores Karah Bishop, Ali Cravens, Keatyn DeGrave, Kelsey Ebarb, Annie Hinshaw, Kelsey Klein and Katelyn Welfer.
Also, freshmen Rhiannon Anast, Cortney Atkisson, Stephanie Bollinger, Emily Bozzer, Allison Brasche, Justine Chavez, Katie DeBrock, Lydia-Marie Flynn, Jenny Ford, Jordyn Gerhardt, Hayley Henderson, Jade Mariman, Brittany Mielke, Kelsey Nystrom, Liz Peterson, Alexandria Radue, Chelsea Rahmus, Amber Rahn, Amanda Ritter, Hailey Mae Schnowske and Amber Setser.
The goals for this year’s Lady Leafs are to win the NCIC title and to win state, Kline stated.
“Obviously, last year we accomplished some things never done before in school history and now we would like to go farther,” said Kline. “With there being three classes it gives us a better opportunity to get to state. We want to win state, but there is a lot of work to be done to get there.”
The big strength that Geneseo will rely on this season and that they can use to their advantage is chemistry.
“We have been playing a while together and they know what is expected and the style of play,” said Kline.
On the other side, coach Kline stated the biggest challenge that will face his team this season is outside opinions.
“If people put into their heads we already earned the state championship then we won’t win,” said Kline. “I don’t want them to feel like they have been given it. They have to understand they have a lot of work to do. We have the potential, we just need to keep our heads on our shoulders and focus on the beginning and end of the year.”
With coach Kline taking control of the team for the first year he commented that their won’t be any changes in the style of play from the Lady Leafs.
“We will be doing what we have been doing the last two years,” said Kline. “I hope we will be more deadly in the fowards and mid area. I know we are strong, but we need to finish the goals. We need to work as a team every game and we will do every well. Team is a big thing.”
It was a historic season last year for the Lady Leafs with their first ever appearance in a sectional final. Geneseo also capped off the conference schedule with another undefeated year at 5-0 and the NCIC title.
In the playoffs, Geneseo defeated Alleman, 4-0 in round one of regionals, followed by a 7-0 victory over United Township in the regional championship.
The Lady Leafs advanced to sectionals and beat Morton 3-2 in five overtimes. Geneseo fell in the sectional final to Peoria Notre Dame, 3-0. GHS ended the year with a 15-4 overall record.
Geneseo opens the season at home against Washington March 24. Junior varsity begins at 4:30 p.m., followed by varsity at 6 p.m.