by Bob San
With the return of many top players, the Maple Grove girls’ soccer team is looking to build on last year’s success.
The Crimson finished second in the conference (6-3-1) and lost in overtime in the section semi-finals last year.
“We return with a strong group of players that contributed in big ways to our success on the field last year and we expect this team, with their years of experience, to play at a very high level,” Crimson coach Ben LeVahn said. “This year our goal is to improve upon those spots and continually improve our individual and team play throughout the year.”
The Crimson return with their three leading scorers in senior captain and forward Haley Nelson (14 goals, three assists), senior captain and forward Kailey Beatt (seven goals, seven assists) and junior forward Lauren Schwarzrock (six goals, four assists). Nelson, who second in the conference in scoring, was All-State and All-Conference, Beatt was All-State Honorable Mention and All-Conference, and Schwarzrock was All-Conference Honorable Mention.
Senior captain and midfielder Mariah Morrisette returns (three goals, one assist). Anchoring the defense are senior captain Angie Davison (All-Conference Honorable Mention) and senior Anna Sivanich (All-Conference Honorable Mention).
Also returning are seniors Michelle Lynch, Jenna Mangle and Jessie VanKeulen. Juniors Michelle Jancaric (one goal, three assists) and starting goalkeeper Casey Autey.
New players to the squad are senior MacKenzie Arbeiter, juniors Samantha Boonstra, Natalie Engel, Laryssa McClouth and Amanda Travis, and sophomores Marissa Hamilton and McKenna Peplinski.
“We have great leadership with our captains and other seniors and we feel that they can provide the direction we need for a successful season,” LeVahn said. “We hope to continue our strong defensive play and add to our attack up front. We are excited about where we are starting and encouraged by our work rate so far.”
The Crimson was at Armstrong at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29.