In order to have success this coming season the lady Buccaneers soccer team has to return to the roots the made them successful, in playing strong defensive soccer while improving on scoring goals and overcoming the loss of seniors.
For a team that was amongst the top ten teams for fewest goals allowed last season, its up to head coach Keith Short and his team to keep the ball of their net while putting plenty into those of the their opponents.
“We need to learn to play an attacking, aggressive style of soccer. We’ve proven we can defend now lets work on scoring goals as well.” Coach Short said.
The leading scorer from last season was Senior Abby Mitchell whose goals will now need to be replaced. Coach Short will look for Junior Tara Gleysteen to lead the way in terms of offense. Yet not only will goals come from forwards as under Short’s system defenders are rewarded by taking penalty kicks.
Despite a desire to play more offensive soccer, coach Short won’t sacrifice formation for goals. “We can run anything from a 5-4-1 to a 3-5-2 to the more common 4-4-2. It really depends upon the opponent and how we want to match up against them.” Short said.
To continue the strong defense, coach Short looks to Sweeper Brittany Hughs’ chemistry with Elysia Liriano to control the back half and keep the ball out of the net with the help of sophomore goaltender Bekah Yanacek, who was also a standout goaltender for the field hockey team this past fall.
One thing is for certain; coach Short feels there will be no shortage of leadership. Seniors Liriano and Sarah Holdbrunner, Juniors Gleysteen and Stefanie Clemdaniel along with goalie Yanacek, will be some of the girls who will be part of the rotated captaincy.
“Each girl has a different role, coach Short said. “They each bring their own set of skills to the table and will contribute in different ways.”
With a sound defense and offense on the upswing, coach Short hopes to contend with the top teams.
“Indian River and Caesar Rodney have always been at the top of the table, while Dover and Smyrna have improved, we look to contend and be in the top five this season.” The girls kick off their season at home against Lake Forest on March 22nd at 5:30.