First-year Sacred Heart girls soccer coach Travis Cooper looks to build on last yearís postseason success.
The Gremlins were only 5-9 entering district play in 2012 but held the top seed in Class 1, District 10. They beat second-seeded St. Paul Lutheran 1-0 in penalty kicks for the programís first district championship.
Sacred Heart continued its success into the sectionals, where it beat Southern Boone 1-0. Thatís when the Gremlins faced then-two-time state champion Springfield Catholic, who beat them 5-1.
The Gremlins appear to have the team to win another district championship because they return eight starters.
Cooper expects improvement in the overall program and when district play begins in May.
Second-team all-stater Morgan Bogue and all-state honorable mentions, Gabbi Ebers and Honor Kehde, are the top returners.
Bogue, a junior midfielder, and Ebers, a junior forward, were the teamís top two goal scorers last year. Kehde, a junior, starred on the defense.
Midfielder Mary Fischer,† midfielder Erin Holt, defender Lexi Krumroy, midfielder Kaitlyn Sunnarborg and midfielder/defender Lauron Tanguay are also returning starters. Defender Erin OíConner, midfielder Mariela Frausto and midfielder Gabby Hill also return.
Perhaps, the teamís biggest loss is goalkeeper Kelli Lamb, who graduated. Junior Sydney Eicholz will step into Lambís shoes.
Midfielder Erika Beykirch and defenders Claire Fischer and Johannah Hohne are also gone.
Besides experience, Cooper said that another strength of his ballclub is the team has added three freshman players who have club experience. They are defender Sydney Bogue, defender Laura Wadley and† forward/goalkeeper Isabelle Wilhelm.
Sophomore defender/midfielder Julie Chancellor, junior defender Shirin Dietrich and freshman midfielder Juliet Hill round out the roster.
Despite lacking size, the Gremlins must traverse a tough schedule.
The schedule includes three schools from higher classifications and tournaments at Springfield Kickapoo and Camdenton. Both are Class 3 schools.