Girls soccer preview: New coach hopes to keep momentum going
In his first season as the head girls soccer coach at Hastings High School, Scott Meier has a big job ahead of him. He's eager to get started, though, and isn't a stranger to the program. He's served in recent years as an assistant coach to Joanne Teigland, who stepped aside after last season.
"Joanne and the kids last year did a great job of getting some momentum going," Meier said. "There were a lot of different things they brought to the table. We want to keep that going and have a ton of fun. That's the one thing we can't ever lose sight of."
Wins figure to be hard to come by this season for Hastings, but the future is relatively bright for the Raiders. Sixty-seven girls are out for the team this year.
"We'll need some time," Meier said. "I'm looking for the kids to develop as players, and we want to retain the kids in the program. We've got some real good numbers of freshmen and sophomores this year. It's all about keeping the program building. As coaches, we like to win, too, but that takes a little bit of building.
"We're building for the long haul. This isn't something we're going to see in a year or two. The best thing I can do is to work to help build the program as best I can so we can have some longterm success."
Captains this year are Hannah Sieh, Rachel Regenscheid and Hanna Norman.
Sieh is a senior who will be playing as a midfielder.
"She's pretty versatile for us," Meier said. "She's the quintessential coach's player. She'll listen to you. She'll do whatever is asked. She's got a good attitude and always stays positive."
Regenscheid plays defense and is a senior, too.
"She's a staunch defender," Meier said. "She's got a good ability to see the field and she has good touch. She's got some ability with her feet, too. If she needs to beat a player, she can do that. I have a lot of confidence in her back there."
Norman, a sophomore, is in her third year on varsity.
"She's our most complete player," Meier said. "She's got great skills and she sees the field really well. I'm a big fan of hers."
Norman figures to play most of the time at midfield, but that could change.
"She's one of those players - we want her to be moving the ball through her a lot," Meier said. "We want her to distribute."
There are seven seniors on the varsity roster. In addition to Regenscheid and Sieh, the seniors are Marissa Nolan, Taylor Burr, Haley Jo Kimmen, Sara Leifeld and Nicole Hollar.
Hollar will play forward. She has good speed and Meier said she can strike the ball well with both feet.
Nolan will play defense.
"She'll be a key for us in our defensive unit," Meier said.
Leifeld also plays defense.
"She's one of those players you love to have on the team," Meier said. "She understands her role. She gives you everything she has. She has definitely stepped up her ability."
Kimmen will play midfield.
"She's got some deceptive speed," Meier said. "She'll challenge for the ball hard up top, too."
Burr plays primarily midfield.
"We will look at her there, and move her inside, too," Meier said. "She's versatile enough where, if need be, she might even fill in at the defensive back spot as well."
Juniors who are on the roster are Jessica John, Kit Ruedy, Rachel Reamer, Brenna Oberg, Emma Kampa, Maria Rother, Sami Claussen and Kaitlyn Anderson.
Sophomores are Casey Webber, Norman and Cort McDonald.
McDonald is the team's goalkeeper.
"Coming in we had five people want to try out for goalkeeper," Meier said. "We put some time in there and at the end of the day, Cort was the one on top of the list. She's got great footwork. She's only going to be getting better at that. She's very aggressive. She's been putting a lot of time over the summer with her hands and her vision and her angles."
It's a new year, but expect the same perennial powers to be atop the Suburban East Conference standings, including Woodbury and Stillwater. East Ridge and White Bear Lake are also contenders and Park will be improved.
In the section, many of the same SEC teams are present. Add in Eagan, Eastview and Rosemount and you've got yourself a challenging section.