The Waterloo High School girls soccer team returns a solid core of players from a team that went 12-5-4 last season and won a regional championship.
“We feel that we can compete with anyone and we will be tested early in the season playing in the top division of the Metro Cup,” Waterloo head coach Chad Holden said.
The Bulldogs defeated Rochester to open the season last Monday, 1-0, then tied Edwardsville on Wednesday, 1-1. On Thursday, Waterloo tied Belleville East, 1-1. The Bulldogs tied Alton in the third place game of the Nike bracket on Saturday.
“We do have an experienced team this year with returning nine starters from last year’s team,” Holden said.
Key returning players for the Bulldogs include goalkeeper Bailey Bosler, who recorded 10 shutouts last season, and a senior-oriented defense that includes Sierra Berg, Sydney Bockhorn, Kate Kennedy and Dani Maurer.
Leading the offensive attack for Waterloo this spring are seniors Sydney Luedeman (23 goals, six assists last season), Emma Novack and Jess Keller, along with sophomores Paige Kinzinger (six goals, 12 assists last season) and Ali Scace.
“New faces for us this year are two sophomores who have really impressed and they are Sydney Stephens and Karleigh Daniels,” Holden added.
In fact, Stephens scored the team’s only goals in last week’s ties with Edwardsville and Belleville East.
Holden said other players who are expected to contribute solid minutes in 2018 include senior Ellie Dirnbeck and sophomore Jacey Baum.
Waterloo will try to build upon its recent string of success in girls soccer. The program has won 65 games over the past four seasons.
In the Mississippi Valley Conference, two dates with perennial soccer powerhouse Triad await. The Bulldogs will face another tough customer – cross-county rival Columbia – at home this coming Monday.
Still, the pieces are in place for the Bulldogs to earn more hardware in 2018.
“The season goes by quick and we will have a lot of games in a short amount of time,” Holden said. “But if we stay healthy, we expect to have a very successful season.”