(KMAland) -- The girls soccer season is set to begin tonight, and with that in mind, it's time to take a look at the Hawkeye Ten.
PREVIOUS SPRING SPORTS PREVIEWS
2021 HAWKEYE TEN CONFERENCE GIRLS SOCCER PREVIEW
Atlantic Trojans – 2019 Record: 5-11 overall, 2-5 conference
Coach: Dan Vargason
There were only three sophomores on the Hawkeye Ten First Team All-Conference two years ago. Atlantic had one of them on their team two years ago. Unfortunately, Tatum Grubbs, who scored 23 goals and had four assists, was injured during basketball season and likely won’t be able to play this season. The Trojans, though, could have three returnees that picked up plenty of time two years ago – juniors Maycie Waters and Hannah Carlson and junior Jaci Smith. The rest is up in the air.
Creston Panthers – 2019 Record: 3-12 overall, 0-7 conference
Coach: Ryan Kissell
The Panthers used plenty of sophomores two years ago and could see the payoff this season. Regular starters Kaci Abildtrup, Chloe Marlin and Madison McCoubrey (1 goal) could all be back for their senior seasons while reserves Mimi Aguirre, Lauryn Christensen, Jurnee Harvey, Rylee Haynes and Lily Pryor all received some experience in various roles. Junior Hannah Rounds was the only freshman that received any PT on varsity in 2019.
Denison-Schleswig Monarchs – 2019 Record: 6-9 overall, 2-5 conference
Coach: Nick Bradley
Stars Alex Mohr and Vanessa Gunderson have moved on, but the girls that played around those two are – in theory – pretty experienced. Seniors Mariela Alfaro, Anna Meyer and Anna Villa (2 goals) and juniors Bailey Gibbons (1 goal, 3 assists), Vanessa Guardado (1 goal) and Magaly Villa (3 assists) were regular starters for the Monarchs. Meanwhile, senior Yesenia Altamirano (1 goal) and juniors Olivia Gunderson and Alyssa Strubbe all played pretty big roles two years ago.
Glenwood Rams – 2019 Record: 7-10 overall, 5-2 conference
Coach: Amy Benson
One of the three returning first team all-conference players should be plenty electric for this Rams team. Senior Avery Blasdel had 13 goals and five assists two years ago as a sophomore, and she’s not alone when it comes to goal-scoring production. Kelly Embray (5 goals, 4 assists), Larissa Pelley (4 goals, 3 assists) and Cameryn Young (3 goals, 1 assist) all had solid sophomore seasons while junior Madison Barrett (4 goals) was terrific while playing as a reserve in 2019. Other seniors Erin Schultz (1 goal) and Jaylin Woodward and juniors Grace Nightser (goalkeeper)and Lauren Roenfeldt also played as freshmen.
Harlan Cyclones – 2019 Record: 10-8 overall, 2-5 conference
Coach: Jared Boysen
The Cyclones had one of the area’s best freshman classes in 2019. They’re juniors now, and they’re led by Raegan Wicks (16 goals, 4 assists) and Kaia Bieker (10 goals, 3 assists). Wicks was an honorable mention choice by the Hawkeye Ten coaches, but she could have just as easily been a first or second-teamer. Jordan Heese, Lexi Musich and Claire Schmitz (1 goal) all were regular starters as freshmen for the Cyclones while Brynn Klaassen (1 goal), Megan Klein, McKenzie Livingston, Sydney O’Neill and Vanessa Schechinger (1 goal) all played plenty. Seniors Hannah Bissen (4 goals) and Madison Parman (1 goal) were also regular starters in 2019.
Kuemper Catholic Knights – 2019 Record: 14-5 overall, 4-3 conference
Coach: Russel Wintermote
Another pretty big and pretty productive freshman class here. Kenya Trausch had 9 goals and three assists in her freshman year while Karly Baumhover (3 goals), Kora Thomsen (1 goal) and Kiley Trecker (1 goal) were also regular starters. Seniors Kylie Feilmeier (2 assists) and Julia Mikkelsen (2 goals) were other and productive members of the 2019 team. Seniors Alyssa Ervelli and McKenna Schlichte and juniors Brooklyn Foley, Alexis Greteman, Molly Kasperbauer and Jordyn Schulte also played a bit.
Lewis Central Titans – 2019 Record: 14-5 overall, 7-0 conference
Coach: Chris Von Mende
The seven-time defending champions of the league had their state championship streak come to an end in 2019. I feel they would have started a new one in 2020. In 2021, there’s a little less that is known. Taylor Gregory is in her senior season after 2 goals and six assists and an All-Hawkeye Ten honorable mention as a sophomore. Hannah Estrada (4 goals, 1 assist), Khia Hilton (2 goals, 3 assists) and Hope Jensen (1 goal, 2 assists) are joined by Haley Bach (1 goal) and Hannah Lucy as girls that saw lots of time as sophomores. The junior class could be led by Amara Orth, who had one goal in eight matches. Ashley McKenzie, Natalie Smith and Callie Williams also saw a little bit of tick in their debut seasons.
St. Albert Saintes – 2019 Record: 14-8 overall, 6-1 conference
Coach: Chris Hughes
There are plenty of unknowns this year with the Saintes, but the one thing that isn’t is that they will likely have one of the best players in the area and state. Makenna Shepard has been a four-year stalwart for the Saintes and finished with 25 goals and 16 assists as a sophomore on her way to All-KMAland, All-Conference and All-State honors. Maddie Estell is another senior that saw some time as a sophomore, finishing with 2 goals and three assists. And the only other two potential returnees are juniors Mallory Daley (2 goals, 1 assist) and Lillia Williams.
HAWKEYE TEN HOT TAKE
This isn’t going to be very hot: Lewis Central is the favorite, until they’re not. The Titans may not have as many household names, but that’s only because we didn’t have a season last year. They still have plenty of experience and booming talent in their program that will surely make a spark again this year.
Outside of Lewis Central, I would look for Glenwood and Harlan to be among the top three or four. St. Albert is the wild card of all wild cards, but anytime that you have a star like Shepard, you have to feel some sort of optimism.
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