Superior girls have lofty set of goals to shoot for
Superior High School girls hockey coach Scott VanDamme set some lofty goals for this year's Spartan squad. The goal every year is to eventually make it to the Wisconsin state tournament, but this year he wanted his team to take at least 15 wins w...
Superior High School girls hockey coach Scott VanDamme set some lofty goals for this year's Spartan squad.
The goal every year is to eventually make it to the Wisconsin state tournament, but this year he wanted his team to take at least 15 wins with it to Madison.
"If we could finish the regular season at 15-5, that would have a pretty good mark, a very good mark," VanDamme said. "Before the season started, that's where we wanted to be heading into the playoffs."
The Spartans still have plenty of work ahead of them as they enter today's home game with River Falls with a 4-2 record after beating Silver Bay 3-2 Thursday night.
"It's going to be tough, we're going to be facing a lot of good teams," VanDamme said. "But against the good teams, we'll see what our mistakes are and what we need to improve on."
As for getting back to the state tournament, that will also be tougher with 23 teams now playing girls hockey in Wisconsin.
"That probably means we might have to play three playoff games to get to state instead of just two," VanDamme said. "That's going to make it a lot tougher."
VanDamme is beginning his sixth season as coach at SHS and the Spartans have been to state three of those years, including winning it all two seasons ago.
Last year at state, Superior lost to Fond du Lac 4-1 in the semifinals, with goaltender Janine Seifert making a state-tournament record 46 saves.
Seifert's back between the pipes as a junior.
"She's played well and had a good game in Saturday's 3-1 win over Eau Claire," VanDamme said. "With the teams we have to play in the area, there's no time to relax and she has to come ready to play every game. There's no free lunches this time."
Backing up Seifert is sophomore Jacquelyn Smith, who's playing her second year of hockey.
"She's coming along," VanDamme said of Smith. "She played about six minutes against Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall and she shut them out. She'll do alright. It looks like she wants to learn and that's a good thing."
Superior's early-season leading scorers are senior Taylor VanDamme and junior Anna Pettingill.
But with the Spartans experiencing defensive problems, Pettingill was recently moved back to defense, a position she played up until midway through last season.
"We moved her back there because we needed some help," VanDamme said. "We thought most of the younger defensemen would help a little bit, but at this point they haven't stepped up to play the position."
Other defensemen include seniors Alicia Cummings and Erica VanDamme, junior Amanda Baker, Megan Atkinson, sophomore Aleeah Baker and freshmen Alayna Moe, Kamrin Anderson and Danielle Ashley.
"We have eight defensemen, but, there's more playing time available, it's just a matter of who's going to step and get it," VanDamme said. "We expected a lot more out of all of the kids. We thought some of the younger ones would have been more helpful, but at this point they haven't stepped up to the plate. We also thought some of the veterans would have done a better job, too, but there's a lot of room for improvement."
While the defense has struggled, Superior's strength heading into the season was supposed to be its ability to score goals.
"We only lost two players (forward Candace Zatko and defenseman Nikki Klobuchar) so I thought we'd be a little more offensive, but right now only scoring about four goals a game," VanDamme said. "That's better than last year, but with the chances we've had we should be getting about five or six goals a game."
Joining Taylor VanDamme on offense are seniors Carise Hals and Alyssa Uotinen, juniors Ashley Martin, Amanda LeBard and Ashlee Olson, sophomores Megan Mullins and Emily Eisenmann and freshman Cassie Berg.
"This team has the potential to go a long way," VanDamme said.
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior's assistant coaches are Mike Johnson and Mike LeBard. ... Superior was 12-11 last season, including 0-5 in the Lake Superior Conference. ... VanDamme said Cloquet and Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall were the preseason favorites to win the LSC title.
Coach: Scott VanDamme
Nov. 17-18 -- vs. Milwaukee North Shore (W)
Nov. 18 -- vs. Onalaska (L)
Nov. 24 -- Fond du Lac (W)
Nov. 28 -- Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall (L)
Dec. 2 -- EC-Altoona Coop (W)
Dec. 7 -- Silver Bay (W 3-2)
Dec. 9 -- River Falls, 2 p.m.
Dec. 11 -- at Duluth, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14 -- at Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall, 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 -- at New Richmond, 2 p.m.
Dec. 19 -- Moose Lake Area, 8 p.m.
Jan. 9 -- at Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11 -- Webster, 8 p.m.
Jan. 16 -- at Ashland, 7 p.m.
Jan. 25 -- at Moose Lake Area, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 -- Thief River Falls, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 30 -- Ashland, 8 p.m.
Jan. 1 -- at Silver Bay, 7 p.m.
Feb. 3 -- at Hudson, 2:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 -- New Richmond, 2 p.m.