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"We have a core group of returning letter winners with experience, both offensively and defensively," commented Minerva head Coach Nicole Chaddock on her 2017 girls soccer team. "We have great team chemistry and this is a dedicated, hard-working group of girls. We have a lot of depth on the bench, and will field a junior-varsity team."
The Lady Lions return 13 letter winners, including nine starters, from last year's 9-8-1 team.
Back are seniors Ava Burman (midfield), Renee Hartong (defender), Lindsay Burchett (midfield/forward), Elizabeth McCauley (midfield), Madi Pearson (midfield) and Peyton Smith (defender); juniors Sydney Ault (goalie) Alyssa Markins (forward), and Olivia Williams (defender); and sophomores Audra Burman (defender), Madison Cross (defender/midfield) and Abby Stoffer (defender).
Ava Burman was selected to the NBC and East District first team a season ago, Hartong was named to the East District honorable-mention squad, and Pearson and Chaddock were selected to the NBC honorable-mention team.
"We lost a great goalie to graduation (Alivia Bates), and we need to improve our knowledge of the game, field vision awareness, and movement of the ball," noted Coach Chaddock.
"West Branch and Louisville will be very strong. They have a core group of athletes who play in the off season on club teams. Salem and Alliance are always very physical teams.
"Our goal is to finish in the top three, but we would love to upset a few teams and make a run at an NBC title."
The girls will open up play with a home match this Friday, Aug. 18 against River View. The girls will welcome Sandy Valley to Hines Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 23.