By Ben Murphy
Fifth year Clare girls’ soccer head coach Joe Zavaglia knows he has some good athletes filling out his roster this season. What he doesn’t know is how these athletes will mold into soccer players.
“Personally, I’m expecting a lot from them,” he said. “If they can deliver the goods, I expect a great season. I’m really excited about having a great season.”
Returning from last year’s team that went 6-10-2 overall and 5-6 in the Northern Michigan Soccer League are seniors Liz Fancon (forward) and Caitlin Field (defense), along with juniors Corinne Wezensky (goalkeeper) and Madison Cleary (defense, midfield).
Others on the team that either return to varsity or have junior varsity experience are juniors Caitlin Correll (forward), Michelle Montini (defense), Kayla Yob, and sophomores Jade Sykora (wing) and Olivia Cooper (wing).
Senior Paige Onstott is new to the team, and though Zavaglia isn’t sure where she fits on the field he’s excited about her potential.
“I’m excited, I just don’t know what we have until we get out there and play,” Zavaglia said, adding Cheboygan should be the team to beat in the league this year. “We need grass to do that and the snow hasn’t been helpful for us. We haven’t really had time to get outside and get prepared at all. We start next week and we’re going in blind. I’ve got some good athletes, though. They’ve excelled at other sports and they’re bringing that ability to soccer.”
The Lady Pioneers already had their March 26 contest at Reed City canceled due to field conditions, but are hoping to get game action in on April 11, hosting Hemlock in a non-league game and play at Big Rapids Crossroads a day later in their first league contest.
“They’re going to be very physical, they’re super talented,” Zavaglia said of Crossroads. “If we can play good defense and counter attack we can beat them. If we can’t, we’re in trouble. Crossroads is a very good program but we can beat them, I have no doubt.”