ROSSVILLE – The Rossville girls’ soccer team set a school record for most wins last year with four. That may not seem like much, but it proved to be a huge step forward for the Hornet program.
Rossville scored 22 goals among eight players last year, and seven of those players – and 21 goals – are back for first-year head coach Rodger DeLosh. And his expectations are pretty high.
“I think this team will be ready,” DeLosh said. “They’ll turn a lot of heads. I have some girls that I think will stand out and hopefully break some records. I know some of them will. It’s a very talented team.”
Rossville’s top two goals scorers last season were freshmen – Taylor Zink (6) and Sydney Hrdlicka (5). Both are back for their sophomore year to go along with nine classmates that make up the core of the Hornet squad.
DeLosh intends to run a 4-3-3 formation, and Hrdlicka may potentially play the center forward position up top after playing a majority of last year on the wing.
Hrdlicka said she enjoys her role as the go-to scorer.
“Since we have a year of experience, and we all know how to play with all the seniors and everything, I think the sophomores will be more prepared for everything,” Hrdlicka said. “We’ll know what we’re doing and be able to hit the ball forward. Our offense has showed a lot of strength. Our defense needs a little bit of work but it’ll come around eventually.”
DeLosh has a number of options up top, with junior Brooke Hughes (three goals in 2012) and Zink possibly joining Hrdlicka. Senior Kelsey Cook (four goals), junior Alexa Hopkins (one goal) are also options, and all should be interchangeable in terms of playing either at forward, winger or center-midfield positions.
“Brooke Hughes is going to be a big impact for us,” DeLosh said. “She has a big foot and is very accurate most of the time.”
Senior Jessica Kyc will also see plenty of time at forward and midfield.
“We all know how we each play and how we all think,” Hrdlicka said. “Our offense is really well put together. We’re going to be working really well and our midfield’s going to be able to push the ball up, especially from the outside. Our new coach is very observant; he’ll figure that out and set up some plays for us.”
The biggest lost from last season is goalkeeper Lindsay Fife, a four-year starter. But DeLosh is confident that her replacement, sophomore Bekah McKee, is more than capable of replacing her.
“She can do the job, and do the job well,” DeLosh said. “She knows where her defense needs to go and she can move them. All goalies are supposed to run that defense, and she sees the other players moving. That’s going to be a big plus for them.”
DeLosh has a number of options in his defensive back four. Leading the way are sophomores Megan Shaffer (one goal), Meleah Brown and Elli Bordner. But a number of other players, including sophomores Megan Matzen, Erin Smith, Bayley Zobel, Katie Hutsell (one goal) and Megan Hadinger, will also get looks there.
Hutsell and Matzen should also play some midfield as well.
Freshman Jodi Crum will also get a look at a number of positions.
“I start different lineups almost every game,” DeLosh said. “I give everyone a shot. I’ve been there, done that; if a girl sits the bench and doesn’t ever start, they might not want to play again. This team has a lot of morale. I like tight-knit family teams.
“They know what I expect out of them. I expect them to play as a team and play well. Our ultimate goal is to win sectional and they know that. We want to beat the records that Rossville set.”
Rossville opens its season at Sheridan on Aug. 20.
Rossville sophomore Sydney Hrdlicka scored five goals last season, second-best on the team.
Rossville sophomore Taylor Zink, shown here during a passing drill last week, led the Hornets in scoring a year ago with six goals.