Fourth-year had coach Ryan Bailey feels his Wauwatosa West girls soccer team has plenty of talent and experience to contend this season.
Bailey, who has been a head coach for seven seasons overall, and the Trojans are coming off a 9-1-1 second-place record behind Pewaukee, their third straight runner-up finish.
'We return 10 of 11 starters and 16 of 21 overall from last season on a team that lost only to Pewaukee,' Bailey said of his team, which had an 11-6-4 overall record last spring.
'We need to finish better,' he said. 'Too many times last year we would not capitalize on good sequences of play. This kept games level or negated us from taking a step to being a dangerous team in our area.'
West will be led by seniors Gaby Zabala, a two-time first-team player that is returning to finish her high school career before going on to Winona State University, and Caitlin Campbell, a returning first-team selection and thebest defender on a back line that returns everyone.
Bailey has 16 returning letter winners, listed here by class.
·Seniors: Campbell (defender), Zabala (forward), Kate Murphy (forward), Olivia Starrett (defender), Lindsay Starrett (midfielder) and Megan Stoffel (midfielder).
·Juniors: Becca Barton (forward), Marley Eckblad (goalkeeper), Hannah Fuerstenau (midfielder), Bridget Obligato (midfielder), Haley Orlowski (goalkeeper), Chloe Pepke (defender) and Erin Schaut (midfielder),
·Sophomores: Anna Ganser (forward), Lauren Mayer (defender) and Emily O'Connell (midfielder).
Bailey also has some new faces who could be starters and top reserves. They include freshmen Chloe Beaudoin, Olivia Keenan, Emma Gabriel, Kayla Stoffel, Irene Phillips and Zoe Eckblad; sophomores Emily Wagy and Alyssa Piek; junior Marcellina Schmidt; and senior Sam Struck.
'We have a great balance of experience and youthful athleticism,' Bailey said. 'The decisions for making the final roster were as hard as they ever have been, which speaks well for our program. All levels will be very competitive and see a high level of play that we can be proud of.'
Bailey's staff has Paul Piering (eighth season as varsity assistant) and Lito Zabala (third season as JV coach) back and adds Taylor Molitor.
'We have high expectations that are achievable if we are able to be more opportunistic than we were last year,' Bailey said. 'To become a champion, it takes great leadership and a certain level that must be reached each day. I believe we have that not only in the returning seniors but also the rest of our returning players.'
Weather permitting, the Trojans hosted Kenosha Bradford on April 5 and travel to Woodland Champion Pewaukee on April 12.