Gibault girls soccer returns strong team

Gibault girls soccer coach Matt Reeb couldn’t wait for the season to start.

Months after coaching the boys soccer team to a state title, Reeb kicked off a new girls season this week with similar goals in mind.

A run to state is certainly possible for the Hawks, who return 10 starters from a team that won a regional championship and advanced all the way to the sectional finals before falling in an overtime heartbreaker to Alton Marquette.

“I think the girls are very motivated,” Reeb said. “They are not content with the success that we had last year, and after the boys team success they are ready for their time.”

If it is indeed the Hawks’ time, experience and defensive prowess will be essential factors. Gibault’s defense was a huge part of the team’s success last season, posting 10 shutouts. That entire unit is back this year, including Lizzie Kuerz, Jess Wittenauer, Robyn Lindsey, and goalkeeper Kendra Davis, who had a .90 goals against average in 2013.

Seniors Bree Hasenstab and Courtney Olson will control the midfield for the Hawks. Rachel Kuerz also looks to be a key player.

The offense looks strong as well, as Gibault returns plenty of firepower from last year. Three sophomores look to lead the way: Maddie O’Neill (10 goals, 3 assists in 2013), Courtney Olson (8 goals, 2 assists), and Abby Hasenstab (8 goals, 6 assists).

Gibault will also get a boost from Hannah O’Neill, one of the team’s best players, who missed almost all of last season with an injury.

“The key to our success this year is our ability to stay healthy,” he said.

In addition to physical health, Reeb also wants his team to be mentally prepared. That is why he put together the toughest schedule his team has had in years.

“Every game will be a battle for us,” he said. “We will have to fight for wins, but it will only make us better and prepare us for the playoffs.”

That philosophy worked for the boys team last fall. Only time will tell if it works for the girls as well.

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