NEW ULM - The New Ulm girl's soccer team has an interesting blend of upper classmen and youth to fill out its varsity roster this year.
But no mistake about it, there will be plenty of talented players up and down the roster for the Eagles, who open the season at 2 p.m. Friday against Fairmont.
Jonathan Johnson is bask as head coach for the Eagles. He led them to a 6-11 record last year and he's hoping all of the pieces fit together for a successful run.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Seniors Megan Laraway (left) and Allison Rosenhamer are two key returning players for the Eagles this season.
"We lost some really good talent from last year but we also gained some really good talent this year in the younger kids," Johnson said. "I'm really impressed with the way their soccer attitude is. They're mostly all business when they get out here and they want to get going."
Senior Megan Laraway has been on the varsity four years. She will be counted on to lead the team this year.
"It's weird, because I've been playing soccer since I was in seventh grade so it's weird to finally feel like the oldest one on the team," senior Megan Laraway said. "The young girls look up to you so it's a whole new atmosphere."
The Eagles have 19 players on this year's varsity roster, including six seniors and seven juniors. One sophomore, three freshmen and two eighth-graders make up the rest of the roster.
Laraway will play on the defensive side and will be one of the leaders back there.
"I like the enthusiasm that all of us have," she said. "We all feed off of each other as a team, which is great because a lot of teams lack that. One part of defense that is nice is that you're able to see the entire field and people come to you and ask 'what do you see?' You can see everything so you can give everyone that perspective."
One thing that the Eagles have had to battle the last couple of years is injuries. While avoiding the key injuries isn't always possible, the Eagles hope that they can manage this year.
"It takes a toll on the whole team," Laraway said. "We're all like a big family and it's hard to see people that you care about get hurt."
Johnson said this year's team is in really good shape and he's hoping it can avoid the injury jinx. But even so, this year's team has plenty of depth.
"We've got more girls out this year than we've had in quite a while," Johnson said. "I think we're sitting good with our people on the bench. We've got some scorers on the bench to start out the game and I'm not worried about depth. We've got some excellent seventh-graders and they're playing well above their age."
The Eagles will have senior Claire Boeder and sophomore Emily Schotzko as goalkeepers. Boeder played the position last year.
Juniors Teresa Howard, Bridget Brown and Catherine Jensen will play the forward position and senior Allison Rosenhamer will also be on the offensive side of the ball.
Midfielders include senior Taylor Gag, junior Syrena Meyer, freshman Ahlyn Berg and eighth-grader Elle Cooper. Defenders include Laraway, seniors Lydia Schoof and Hannah Paustian, juniors MaryEllen Raverty, Jordan Reinhart and Libby Marti, freshmen Sarah Schwartz and Bekah Hoppe and eighth-grader Michelle Rosenhamer.
Despite losing some key seniors, Allison Rosenhamer thinks the Eagles will be just fine this year.
"I don't think it's going to be tough, everyone's working really hard at practice," she said.
She also said that she's ready to have some fun in her final year.
"I just want to have a fun year," Rosenhamer said. "Some years its a lot of stress, but I just want to have a fun last year and I want to do really well and get further than we usually do in the playoffs."