No more surprises for SHS girls soccer team
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
There will be no stunned silences at the Superior High School soccer fields this year, no looks of disbelief.
The Spartan girls know exactly what to expect from themselves, and so too, will opponents.
“We’re not going to be able to shock teams anymore; they know what’s coming,” said senior Kelsey Hansen.
“We don’t have the surprise factor anymore,” said fellow senior Catie Albrecht.
The Superior girls tripped up more than one opponent last season when teams underestimated them. With only two seniors on the Spartan squad and 11 freshmen and sophomores, it was easy for teams to take Superior lightly.
“I think we probably surprised a lot of people last year, and no one’s going to be surprised this year,” said Len Albrecht, SHS head coach. “Everybody’s going to be ready for us, so it’s going to be different. Making sure these guys are mentally prepared for that is going to be the challenge.”
Superior returns almost its entire team from last season. Only a handful of players are missing — including 2011 graduates Abby McCall and Taylor Christner — but the bulk of Superior’s players will be back on the field, and they have a year of experience to aid them.
“Our varsity team will be a little bit stronger because we have that experience of playing,” said junior Amber Holt. “We have a few new girls filling in for the two seniors who graduated, but mostly we all played together through the whole season last year and got used to playing with each other throughout the season.”
By the end of the season, the improvement was obvious, Holt said, and she believes the returning players will give the Spartans an edge this year.
Holt is the top player returning at forward for Superior, along with senior Allison Gotelaere. Also playing at forward for Superior will be senior Nicole Manion, junior Cassie Hansen and sophomore Kailey Buhr.
Kelsey Hansen will lead a strong group of midfielders returing for Superior, and the Spartans will use a diamond defense again this year with Catie Albrecht at sweeper.
In goal, Superior looks forward to a more settled season. The Spartans scrambled for a goalkeeper at the last minute in 2011, and freshman Paige Harker was forced to learn the position on the spot when she was assigned the role.
Junior Sara Balcer will play in goal for the Spartans this season, and she brings with her years of experience at goalie. Freshman Kristina Manion will play goalie on the JV team and serve as a back-up to Balcer if needed.
Just two years ago, Superior struggled to fill a junior varsity team. But numbers have improved drastically, going from 23 girls in 2010 to 42 this season.
“I know there’s a number of girls on JV that would fit right in with varsity,” Hansen added. “So if we do have to battle injuries, we can just pull people up.”
Amery, Osceola, Spooner and Hayward are expected to be the top teams in the Middle Border Conference this season, with Superior also in the mix. The Spartans finished second in the Middle Border Conference last season with a conference record of 10-4-1. This year, Superior is looking to go one step further.
“Our school has yet to have a banner in the gym for girls soccer,” Holt said.
“There’s one little corner of the gym that isn’t filled yet,” Hansen said.
The Superior girls opened their season Thursday against Baldwin-Woodville and on Saturday will travel to Chippewa Falls for an 11 a.m. game.
Superior hosts its first home game Tuesday against Amery. Play is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. on the SHS soccer fields.
2012 Varsity Soccer Roster
2. Becca Tunnell Mid/Def So.
3. Bridget Manion Mid So.
4. Kaelynn Allen Mid Sr.
6. Anna Lurndal Mid So.
7. Kailey Buhr Forward So.
14. Jaydeen Anderson Defense So.
15. Nicole Mattson Mid Jr.
16. Kelsey Hansen Mid Sr.
18. Morgan Peterson Defense Jr.
19. Jessica Xiong Defense Sr.
20. Nicole Manion Forward Sr.
21. Allison Gotelaere Forward Sr.
23. Catie Albrecht Defense Sr.
24. Morgan Kubarek Mid So.
26. Kelsey Reder Defense Jr.
27. Keeley McCall Defense Jr.
28. Alyssa Maki Defense Sr.
29. Amber Holt Forward Jr.
42. Cassie Hansen Forward Jr.
GK. Sara Balcer GK Jr.
2012 Varsity Schedule
Thursday, March 29 at Baldwin-Woodville, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 31 at Chippewa Falls Tournament, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, April 3 home vs. Amery, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 5 home vs. Somerset, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 10 at New Richmond, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 12 home vs. Barron, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 19 at Spooner, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 24 at Osceola, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 26 home vs. Hayward, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 28 at Rice Lake, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, May 1 home vs. Baldwin-Woodville, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 3 at Amery, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 7 home vs. Ashland, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 8 at Somerset, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 10 home vs. New Richmond, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15 at Barron, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 18 home vs. Rice Lake, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, May 22 home vs. Spooner, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 24 home vs. Osceola, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 25 at Ashland, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 29 at Hayward, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 31 WIAA Tournament — Regionals
Saturday, June 2 WIAA Tournament — Regional semifinal
Thursday, June 7 WIAA Tournament — Regional final
Saturday, June 9 WIAA Tournament — Sectional semifinal, at New Richmond
Thursday, June 14 WIAA Tournament — Sectional final
Friday, June 15 WIAA State Tournament
Saturday, June 16 WIAA State Tournament