The Waterloo High School girls soccer team is ready to take the next step. With several key players returning from a squad that lost in the regional finals last season, head coach Chad Holden has big aspirations in mind for his team.
“Our goals are to improve as the season goes on and to be in the running for the conference title by season’s end,” he said.
The Bulldogs will rely on a blend of youth and experience in their efforts to accomplish those goals. Waterloo returns a large bulk of the starting lineup from a squad that lost in the regional finals to Triad in 2013.
The experience looks to pay its dividends for the Bulldog offense, which shouldn’t have too much trouble putting the ball in the net.
Returnees include Erika Lloyd, who tallied 15 goals and 12 assists in 2013, Hope Elliot (11 goals, 9 assists), Jessica Chapman (5 goals, 3 assists), and Alexis Wheeler (6 goals, 1 assist). Holden also pointed to juniors Darby Nugent and Shannon Rettig as key returning players.
Waterloo will not, however, be as seasoned on defense, returning only defender, Lauren Wright, and goalkeeper Mia Reed. But Holden is confident that his younger players will be able to step up. Holden is also looking to sophomores Sydney Ratz and Sidney Metzger and freshman Heather Elliot to play major roles.
The group is young but talented and speedy, according to Coach Holden.
With the range of age on the team, Holden says that he will be counting on his seasoned veterans to lead the way.
Mina Feilner, Kat Pate, and Alyssa Miller join Chapman and Elliot as the Bulldogs’ senior players, and Holden couldn’t imagine having a better group of leaders.
“They are really a hard-working and fun group to have,” he said. “I feel like our younger players really look up to them.”
The Bulldogs kick off their season with the Metro Cup Tournament this week.
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