> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
It could be a rough start for first-year Pirate coach Keith Kimmel, who takes over a program that graduated 10 seniors. Half of the Charlestown players have never played soccer before this season.
“The team is stocked full of girls new to soccer or have only played a couple of seasons of recreational soccer,” Kimmel said, “but all have a great desire to learn and give their best effort during practice.
“The girls need to keep themselves in every game and not get discouraged. Being a rebuilding year, I want to be competing in every game and improve as the season progresses. Also, the girls need to support each other and keep pushing each other in a positive way.”
Charlestown has four returning starters in senior Katie Navetta, junior Tapanga Larson and sophomores Sara Rutowski and Delaney Smith.
Christian Academy returns nine starters from a team that went 3-8 a year ago. With nine starters returning, the Warriors are a mix of experience and youth.
Sophomore Brittany Albert returns after scoring a team-best 10 goals a year ago and fellow sophomore Amy Leffler gives CAI more offensive punch.
Junior Abbey Butler had 117 saves last season and returns as the Warriors’ keeper.
“[The 117 saves] means either she’s a really good goalie or we weren’t very good defensively,” CAI coach Brett O’Loughlin said. “It was a little bit of both. I’d like to think that we’re going to be a little bit stronger defensively. We’ve shored up some problems there. Offensively is still yet to be determined.”
With the loss of six valuable seniors, the Highlanders are trying to find their best lineup entering 2013.
“We have changed some positions on some players trying to get our best 11 on the field at one time, so it might take us a while to gel,” Floyd coach Lewie Stevens said.
Led by Indiana State signee and leading scorer Lauren Wyatt, the Highlanders will have plenty of talent. The All-Hoosier Hills Conference senior is joined by classmates Ellie Stewart, Jessica Coryell, Mckenzie Fell, Kelsey Shireman and Molly Yothers, along with some skilled newcomers.
“I think most local soccer people will feel that this is a bit of a rebuilding year for us, [but] I don't really agree,” Stevens said. “I'm hoping that we might have the ability to surprise some opponents. Our key is to stay as healthy as possible. We already have a couple players out for the season and others nursing some nagging injuries.”