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Girls Soccer

WLC looking for Final 4 spot

  • connant girls soccer v wlc
  • The ConVal girls soccer team dropped its regular season finale 3-0 to John Stark on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012<br/><br/>(Staff Photo by Tim Goodwin)
  • connant girls soccer v wlc

Two of the three local teams made the playoffs last year, while the third finished with just a single win on the final day of the season.

Both of the postseason participants, ConVal and Wilton-Lyndeborough, expect higher seedings and deeper playoff runs, and Conant is looking to be more competitive in Division III.

Over the next week, all three will begin 2013 with a clean slate and high hopes of better seasons than a year ago.

But only time will tell that if the season will turn into one to remember or one that came up short of expectations.

WLC

The Warriors return all but one starter from last year and will look to make another deep run in the postseason.

WLC was knocked out of the Division IV tournament in the opening round in 2012, but coach Bill Draper expects a lot more out of his veteran squad. They played well at times last year, it just did not always go their way in the end.

“We had some great games with very good teams,” said Draper. “We were right there, we just need to come out on top of those close games.”

Not only do the Warriors have experience, but they also have depth as Draper feels there are as many as 14 players that could fill the starting lineup this season.

“Even the subs that are returning, there are some very talented girls,” said Draper.

Two years ago, WLC made a trip to the semifinals and that is a more likely destination for this group according to Draper.

“If we play like we can,” said Draper. “We certainly have the ability to be a Final Four team.”

While there are still some things to figure out, Draper feels by the end of October, the Warriors will be ready to take on just about any team in their division.

Senior Kim Edmunds will anchor the defense from the stopper position, while sophomore Tesa Simpson moves from goalie to sweeper.

Senior Sami Bosquet returns to center midfield and will be joined on the right side by junior Kelsey Randlett.

The forward line will consist of senior Sophie LeVert on the right side, next to junior Jenna Bragdon, who returns to the center forward position.

Sophomore Cori Balam, who saw time in goal last year, takes over the position for 2013 and could be a key piece to the Warriors’ success.

“She’s very aggressive back there and has the potential to be very good,” said Draper.

ConVal

In 2012, the Cougars qualified for the Division II tournament for the first time in four years and are looking to make it two in a row.

With most of last year’s team back, losing just two seniors and a couple of other players, and the addition of a few talented freshmen, coach Cher McClelland is expecting big things out of her team this season.

“I think this is going to be a really good year for us,” said McClelland.

ConVal earned the 16th and final playoff spot last October and gave top-ranked Oyster River a tough game despite having only 11 players in uniform. But McClelland believes they will be much improved and grab a higher seeding come playoff time.

“Obviously expectations are to be able to compete a lot better this year,” said McClelland. “Hopefully a lot more wins and make it to postseason play.”

Despite having a younger group, McClelland still thinks the talent level will be able to compete with just about any team in the division.

Depth is a key for the Cougars, as McClelland has so many players capable of filling starting roles.

“There is more depth than I’ve ever had,” said McClelland.

The forward line is capable of big things with seniors Haley Zanga and Zoe Paige leading the group that will also include sophomore Grace Bowman.

Sophomore Maura Rapposelli and freshman Jordan Kania will patrol the center midfield, while the outside midfield positions will be filled with Kyler Mose, Sarah Kolk and Sylvie Holding.

With a large number of midfielders, McClelland decided to move seniors Meghan Close and Jess Nerz to defense to go along with Beth Cheaney and Briana Jones.

“We’re keeping some strong players in the back,” said McClelland.

Sophomore Catherine Rautio, who split time in net last year, will return to the goalie position, and will be joined by Marisa Taylor.

Conant

The Orioles return 10 players from last year’s one-win team and are looking for a better season.

Conant will miss the four graduated seniors, as well as three others that did not return, but second-year coach Whitney Aldrich believes this will still be an improved team.

“I’m not looking at the win-loss record. I’m looking at what the girls are doing on the field,” said Aldrich.

Struggling to score a year ago, the Orioles will have to rely on playing good defense and limiting opponents’ opportunities.

With the addition of a junior varsity program this year, the varsity numbers are a little down and will make it hard to compete against some of the deeper teams in Division III with not many subs.

But Aldrich sees the benefit of it all.

“We’re building for the future,” said Aldrich.

And so far, Aldrich has liked what he’s seen.

“The skill level is way higher than last year,” he said. “They’re pushing each other to be better.”

Seniors Shannia Aho and Jenna Sirois will anchor the midfield, along with sophomore Jessie Amscitti, Shannon Bennett and Melanie Petria.

Seniors Courtney Dillon and Allina Bennett return to the forward line. The defensive unit will be made up of juniors Alysha Smith, Jenna Hannu and sophomore Jammie Amscitti.

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