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Highland girls soccer team looking to surpass expectations

9/26/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

GRANGER — Even though the Highland High School girls soccer team has played well, head coach Gina Fox has pinpointed several areas where the team can improve in order to go to another level of success.

“We would like to do better in our conference play [3-4 last season],” she said. “[And we need to work on our] speed of play, organization in the back, creating in the attack and finishing.”

Last season, Highland finished with an 11-6-1 overall record and made it as far as the district semifinals. Through the first 10 games of the season, the team was out to a 7-2-1 start.

“We have many returning letter-winners that know the expectations,” Fox said. “We only have four seniors, but there are a handful of girls that have been around the coaching staff and playing with each other long enough that I wouldn’t consider us young.”

The seniors, with comments on each by the coach, are as follows:

  • Anna Rose Wiencek: “She was first team all-district, first team all-county and first team all-conference last year. She is an extremely technical and tactical player.”
  • McKenzie Koch: “She was named honorable mention in conference and county last year and led the team in assists. She has great speed and determination and leads by example.”
  • Amanda Schniegenberg: “She was honorable mention in conference and county. She is one of our leading scorers, and has great strength and creativity in attack.”
  • Hannah Wingate: “She is a dedicated team player and works hard to create in attack for us.”

Another key player for the team is junior Elle Cain, who was second team all-conference last year and earned honorable mention honors in the county.

“She has incredible speed and technical ability, and a will to win,” the coach said. “She is a very good one-on-one defender.”

In addition, Fox said a few other juniors are expected to stand out this season.

“Jillian Savage is an aggressive and smart defender who always brings energy to a game,” she stated. “Maggie Mae Everett is technically sound and an extremely versatile player who can dominate many roles on the field. She is always ready to compete. Samantha Sube is an aggressive, hard-working defender. Julianne Zeleznik is technical and works hard to keep possession for us and be smart defensively. Defender Rebecca Smith’s tactical awareness is sound. Audrey Koehler brings energy and plays to keep possession well. And back-up keeper Jasmine Prezenkowski has emerged into a good keeper and defender for us, providing an aggressive and hard-working mentality.”

Two players who could be surprises this season, Fox said, are Kaitlyn Lafayette and Lauren Tecco.

“They are putting in the time in the offseason to increase playing time this season and carry major roles on the team,” she stated.

Fox said she is looking for the team’s sophomores and freshmen to continue to work hard and try to improve.

“Other returning letter-winners include sophomores Madison Less, second team all-conference and honorable mention in the county, who is an outstanding keeper, and Mari Ley, who is a very versatile player. She creates in the attack and is a hard worker,” the coach stated. “I expect our underclassmen to continue to work hard on and off the field and continue growing as players so they can become more dangerous on the field and enjoy their passion for the game.”

Fox, who is in her fourth season as the team’s head coach, is assisted by Samantha Sandmann.

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