Marion Brooks battles an East Troy defender near the goal in season opener for the Big Foot-Williams Bay girls soccer team. The team, which has a strong core of players, hoped to return to the field this week after an extended delay due to weather. (Bob Mischka photo)

By Dan Truttschel

Sports correspondent

The Big Foot-Williams Bay girls soccer team has its sights set on some lofty goals this spring.

And it appears the Chiefs have every reason to believe they can reach those.

Big Foot returns 10 letterwinners, including six who earned All-Rock Valley Conference honors a year ago, which gives second-year head coach Rene Perez plenty of reason for optimism.

“I’m very excited to see how well we can really play,” he said. “We were a young team last season, but now we have that experience under our belts. We should be a more competitive team.”

Big Foot, which finished 9-5 overall last year and 6-3 in the RVC, started five freshmen in 2017 – but appears poised to take another step forward, Perez said.

The Chiefs advanced to a Division 3 regional final last spring, and making a deeper run in the tournament, along with taking their best shot at the top of the RVC, are two main goals on their to-do list.

“Last year, we came in with a younger team,” Perez said. “I think having them develop throughout the season was promising. … Our main goal is to win conference and go deeper into the playoffs as we did a couple of years ago.”

Leading the way are returning first-team picks, junior Abby Peterson (midfield/forward) and sophomore Olivia Peterson (defender). Those two are joined by second-team picks, sophomore Abby Van De Bogert (defender/midfielder), Hannah Palmer (forward) and Penny Brooks (midfielder/forward). Also back is sophomore midfielder Maya Torrez, who was an honorable mention selection.

Peterson, Brooks, senior midfielder Mallory Beyers (Williams Bay) and junior midfielder Molly McEnany, who missed all of last year with a torn ACL, have emerged as leaders, Perez said.

“These four will set the tone for the season,” he said. “They will have to lead by playing and helping the younger players develop throughout the season. All four captains have three years of varsity experience.”

The Chiefs’ other senior is goalie Caitlin Sternberg (Williams Bay). Juniors on the varsity roster are Kristin Colquhoun (midfielder, Williams Bay) and Hailey Amstutz (midfielder, Williams Bay).

Sophomores are Taylor Barkes (defender, Williams Bay), McKinley Boyle (defender/midfielder), Clare Heckert (midfielder, Williams Bay) and Charlotte Fischer (midfielder).

A foursome of freshmen – Sariah Tracy (midfielder), Katie Kirschlager (defender/midfielder), Emma Watterrs (defender/midfielder) and Casey Kirschlager (defender/goalie) – also have been promoted to the varsity.

 

Keys to success

Perez identified a number of keys for his team to reach its goals.

Near the top of the list is getting better at finishing on the offensive end, he said.

“Last season, we had some opportunities to score but just couldn’t,” Perez said. “Hopefully, we do a better job this season. … I think that our midfield will be a strong point in our game, and we’ll have to possess the ball more and keep teams from attacking us.

“With being able to possess the ball more, we should be able to get more opportunities to score.”

Aside from the on-field goals, Perez has another for this group.

“Being a more vocal team and communicating with each other throughout the game will definitely add to a successful season (as well),” he said.

Looking at the RVC, Perez sees defending champion McFarland, which won the title at 9-0, and Evansville, which was second at 8-1, to be among the teams to beat. Big Foot was 6-3 in the conference last year.

“(They) are always teams to keep an eye on,” he said. “I see us competing with McFarland to finish atop of the conference.”

Assisting Perez this season is Jeanne Case, who is in her second year as the JV coach.

 
 

1 Comment

  1. Vern Watters says:

    Very proud of you Emma Watters

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