Led by a large junior class, Wauwatosa East's girls soccer team returns an experienced roster looking to build on the success it had last season.
The Red Raiders bring back eight starters and their seven top scorers from last year's team that finished 13-7-3 overall and in fourth place in the always-challenging Greater Metro Conference at 3-3-1 in league play.
"We have plenty of varsity experience returning, including an especially deep and talented junior class," Tosa East coach Eric Dale said. "We should have plenty of scoring options. We have a very quick and athletic group of girls. Our pace of play should be entertaining, and our fitness will be a strength."
Tosa East will be tasked with replacing four All-Greater Metro players in second-team defender Clara Kuranz, honorable mention forward Chyna Sincere, honorable mention defender Lauren Minette and honorable mention goalkeeper Lily Brock.
Junior midfielder Liz Bueckers returns after earning first-team All-Greater Metro honors as a sophomore. The IUPUI commit scored 16 goals with 11 assists a year ago.
Also back is junior midfielder Evan Knauss, who was honorable mention All-Greater Metro after scoring seven goals with six assists last season.
Other returning letterwinners include seniors Karley Haar and Jordyn Summerfield, juniors Mariana Ibanez-Baldor (3 goals, five assists), Crosbie Kowalski (7 goals, five assists), Sarah Lessila, Emma Martin, Kyra Meach and Elyse Reagan (5 goals, three assists) and sophomore Sydney Halstead (2 goals, three assists).
Bueckers, Lessila and Reagan will serve as team captains as juniors in their third season on the varsity roster. Lessila will be back on the field for the Red Raiders after having to sit out last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"Reagan is a two-year starter garnering interest from several colleges," Dale said. "Kowalski, Knauss and Ibanez-Baldor are all returning starters who cracked the team's top five in scoring last season. Halstead, who started as a freshman last season, returns to anchor the midfield, while Meach and Lessila will play key roles in the defense."
Newcomers to the varsity roster include seniors Sadie O'Neil (returning from ACL surgery) and Emma Terry, juniors Willow Bangs, Madison David, Christina Dralle, Olivia Romfoe and Maddie Szohr, sophomores Lilly Manke and Abby Schermerhorn and freshman Katie Swenson.
"For our team to do well in the rugged Greater Metro Conference, we will have to improve our mindset defensively," Dale said. "We must be sharper in our back third of the field. We will be very inexperienced at the goalkeeper position, with both candidates having never logged a minute of varsity experience."
Tosa East was scheduled to open its season with a difficult week. The Red Raiders were slated to play at nationally ranked Brookfield Central on Tuesday, March 28, followed by a game at defending Division 2 state champion Homestead on Wednesday, March 29, and then the home opener against defending Division 1 state runnerup Madison West on Saturday, April 1.