Girls' Soccer: Raiders aim to build off last year's progress
Do not expect a whole lot of change outside of roster turnover for this year's Hastings girls' soccer team. After winning just three games in 2016, the Raiders showed plenty of improvement last year as they compiled a 7-9 overall record. Despite having 13 players graduate from last year's team, head coach Scott Meier said he returns a solid core from which to build around in 2018.
"I don't see a change in approach overall," he said about having so much turnover. "We will have a core of players back from last year that I am looking to rely on leading the way. We will need to be solid in all three phases (defense, midfield, forward) out of the gate and get off to a good start."
"We did graduate a large number of players last year, but we are looking to see players step up and grab spots, which some will be within our defense and midfield," he said. "We are putting an emphasis on our conditioning and technical skills this year."
Meier said that the returning core will be led by captains Lauren Jackson, Hannah Hubbart, Bella Durand and Ari Green. Hubbart and Green both led the team in goals scored last year as well is being one-two in points. He said the team last year showed drastic improvement on both sides of the ball and they will need to continue that development this season.
"We scored more goals last year and I felt the team did well in creating chances," Meier said. "I think we played more physical and defended well as a team in a majority of our matches. We will have to finish more of our chances this year and stay disciplined when we play the likes of Mahtomedi and Hill-Murray."
Off the field, Meier said they will continue to develop the culture around the Hastings girls' soccer program, which is an emphasis this year as part of athletic director Trent Hanson's and the rest of the Raider coaches vision for Hastings athletics as a whole.
"Each year is different from the next, but we are looking to enhance the culture of what it means to be a HHS Girls soccer player and a program as a whole," he said.
Hastings started their season off on Aug. 24, at home against Byron, before making the trip up to Duluth for games against Duluth Denfeld and Duluth Marshall Aug. 30-31. Their first Metro East Conference game is at North St. Paul on Sept. 6. The last game of the regular season is Oct. 6 at home against Bloomington Kennedy.