GIRLS SOCCER: 2016 season preview

STEPHEN BROOKS | THE GOSHEN NEWSThe returning letterwinners for the Goshen High School girls soccer team in 2016 are, pictured seated in the front row from left, Daphne May, Aylissa Trosper and Jhoana Gomez. Kneeling in the second row, from left, is Jillian Kissinger and Priscila Flores. Standing in the third row, from left, are Alexa Medina, Maggie Gallagher, Hannah Kurtz, Noelia Calderon, Aniya Hartzler and Kyrah Fletcher. Not pictured is Kassandra Rodriguez.

GOSHEN — The Goshen girls soccer team lost one talented Alyssa, but brings back another standout Aylissa in 2016.

Longtime starting goalkeeper Alyssa Hershberger graduated, but dynamic forward Aylissa Trosper returns for her senior year with the RedHawks. And having a talent like Trosper — Goshen's leading scorer with 14 goals a year ago — back in the fold is making RedHawks coach Dan Graber re-think his defensive-first approach, even if momentarily.

“The motto of our team is 'Defense first, offense will come,'” Graber said. “We say that as a team, so I've always been a very defensive-minded coach. … We'll have to see. I think you have to make some adjustments when you're coaching and we'll see what happens.”

Trosper got her season started in emphatic fashion, scoring three second-half goals to help lift Goshen to a win in its season-opener last week. Graber considers her one of the top offensive players in the area, and said Trosper has her eyes set on Goshen's career goals record.

“She's the real deal,” Graber said. “So for her, we're going to count on her offensively. … Offensively I think we're going to be stronger this year than we were last year because of that, but defensively we still have some gaps to fill.”

Anne Nisley, a transfer from Bethany Christian, is a potential running mate for Trosper at the top of the formation. Finding a secondary option on the attack is a priority for the RedHawks so the opposition can't focus on taking Trosper away.

“I think she's going to add some to our offense. We're excited about her,” Graber said of Nisley.

Losing Hershberger, as well as defenders Xenia Isaula and Catherine Loera, who are now playing at Goshen College, gutted a wealth of experience from Goshen's back line.

One constant this year is junior Jillian Kissinger, a captain and defensive anchor from her sweeper position. Former backup Kassandra Rodriguez, a senior, will slide into the starting goalie role.

“We've got some young players out there in different positions still learning how to play together,” Graber said. “We have to come together pretty quickly here because we've got some tough matches here.”

Big picture, the Goshen is trying to make up for what Graber considered a disappointing season in 2015 when the team went 8-6-3 after a semistate run in 2014. The RedHawks enter this year refreshed and refocused without the mental burden of losing their star player right before the season, as was the case with Jelitza Palomino tearing her ACL last fall.

“They've set some high goals,” Graber said. “They want to be top-three in the conference and they want a sectional championship. To compete for those we've got our work cut out. We've got work to do.”

Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenM_Brooks

GOSHEN

Head coach: Dan Graber

Years as a head coach: 15

Assistant coaches: Kari Wildman, Yaneth Springer, Marcela Castillo.

Last year's record: 8-6-3

Returning letterwinners: Aylissa Trosper, Priscila Flores, Kassandra Rodriguez, Hannah Kurtz, Noelia Calderon, Daphne May, Jill Kissinger, Jhoana Gomez, Aniya Hartzler, Maggie Gallagher, Alexa Medina, Kyrah Fletcher.

Roster: Seniors — Priscila Flores, Aylissa Trosper, Kassandra Rodriguez. Juniors — Anne Nisley, Hannah Kurtz, Noelia Calderon, Daphne May, Jill Kissinger, Jhoana Gomez. Sophomores — Aniya Hartzler, Maggie Gallagher, Alexa Medina, Kyrah Fletcher, Lexi Flores, Kim Ho. Freshmen — Hailey Mast, Regan Mast.

Coach's comment: “This fall we’re facing the toughest schedule we have ever had at Goshen High School. The girls are working hard and are ready for the challenge. We have experienced some real success the past few years so we know teams are going to be out to beat us.”

CONCORD

Head coach: Todd Hesselbart

Years as a head coach: 7

Assistant coaches: Rob Miller, Mallory Conrad

Last year's record: 10-4-4

Returning letterwinners: Rachel Deshone, Chloe O'Dell, Allison Murphy, Leslie Morales, Lauren Boone, Brenda Tellez, Michela Tolar, Hannah Schraw, Mallory McCuen, Kelsey O'Dell, Nicolette Vahala, Sarah Guy, Haley Miller, Emily Kennedy.

Coach's comment: “We will be a team that expects to compete every game. We are above all a team and we believe in the team and will sacrifice for the team.”

NORTHRIDGE

Head coach: Bill Redinger

Years as a head coach: 14

Assistant coaches: Thavisith Mounsithiraj, Alisha Christner, Julina Skow-Lewis

Returning letterwinners: Brey Baltazar, Jade Thompson, Maddie Kidder, Heidi Hochstetler, Kyla Long, Meghan Cawood, Ariana Stoltzfus, Lexi Chappell, Izzy Love, Sage Schnell.

Roster: Seniors — Brey Baltazar, Jade Thompson, Maddie Kidder, Heidi Hochstetler, Sydney Schnell, Morgan Lantz. Juniors — Kyla Long, Meghan Cawood, Haley Bond, Ayla Gray. Sophomores — Ariana Stoltzfus, Lexi Chappell, Izzy Love, Sage Schnell, Madi Sorg, Sophie Carrison, Daphne Dunn, Jessica Amis, Emma Oxenrider, Kailee Miller, Mikayla Smith. Freshmen — Hope Stacker, Leah Stacker.

NORTHWOOD

Head coach: Phillip Ummel

Years as a head coach: 10

Assistant coaches: Tecia Timmel, Tom Shields, Danae Ehret

Last year's record: 8-6-4

Returning letterwinners: Brittani Shields, Cassie Yoder, Savannah Feenstra, McKenzie Lincoln, Betsy Nunemaker, Mackenzie Bergman, Kali Parisi, Neely Trenshaw.

Roster: Seniors — Tatiana Guillen, Olivia Nix, Brittani Shields, Cassie Yoder. Juniors — Savannah Feenstra, Sydney Filley, McKenzie Lincoln, Betsy Nunemaker. Sophomores — Cindy Barahona, Mackenzie Bergman, Avery Bontrager, Caitlin Lower, Kali Parisi, Lexi Parisi, Morgan Stickley, Neely Trenshaw. Freshmen — Olivia Craven, Caroline Jenkins, Ariana Runge.

Coach's comment: “After losing seven starters from last year's team, there will be many new faces playing significant roles this season. Fortunately, we have some good talent in our younger players to match with great leadership from our veterans. I'm looking forward to how this team will take shape throughout the season.”

WESTVIEW

Head coach: James Martin

Years as a head coach: 2

Assistant coaches: Ryan Yoder

Last year's record: 15-5-1

Returning letterwinners: Karla Yoder, Amiah May, Karyssa Davis, Taryn Pruitt, Reagan Sharick, Grace St. Clair, Libbie Martin, Makayla Yoder, Anna Mullett, Iris Uresti, Sara Leggett, Lauryn Riegsecker, Grace Miller.

Roster: Seniors — Amiah May, Karla Yoder, Reagan Sharick, Taryn Pruitt, Grace St. Clair, Karyssa Davis. Juniors —Libbie Martin, Anna Mullett, Iris Uresti, Makayla Yoder, Sara Leggett, Alibeth Bultemeier, Jenna Duff. Sophomores — Lauryn Riegsecker, Grace Miller, Gretchen Lewton, Leanna Miller.

Coach's comment: “Looking forward to another great season. We have a great bunch of hard working very driven young ladies. Would really like to repeat as conference and sectional champs and get another shot at the regionals.”

WEST NOBLE

Head coach: Jorge Macias

Years as a head coach: 2

Assistant coaches: Jose Romo, Nate Lowe

Last year's record: 6-11

Coach's comment: “This year's team is a young group that has been working hard throughout the preseason. With only three seniors we are looking forward to getting more experience and improving as the season goes.”

LAKELAND

Head coach: Megan Hamilton

Years as a head coach: 6

Assistant coaches: Hugh Robertson

Returning letterwinners: Katie Levitz, Karley Alleshouse, Cheyenne Bechtel, Sammy Baczynski, Mollee Vander Mullen, Nubia Cruz, Jenna Ferguson.

Coach's comment: “We have a lot of new (faces) and a completely new defensive line. This year will be a learning experience for us as we try and figure out our new squad.”

BETHANY CHRISTIAN

Head coach: Joel Gonzalez

Assistant coaches: Dana Christner

Last year's record: 2-14 in 2013 (no team the past two seasons)

Returning letterwinners: Carissa Woolace

Roster: Seniors — Abby Hochstetler, Anna Barnard, Carissa Woolace. Juniors — Rebecca Thomas, Gabriella Klopenstein, Melina Liras, Bailey Hanton, Kate Ramirez Ingold. Sophomores — Kassy Milley, Hannah Rose. Freshmen — Caroline Cartmel, Sarah Hochstetler, Sid Hostetler, Karina Kern, Ana King, Macinsy Sanchez, Emma Thomas.

Coach's comment: “We are very excited to bring the program back to life after two years without a girls team. We are young but we are improving and working hard everyday.”

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