SYRACUSE – The 2013 Wawasee Lady Warrior soccer team is going to look very similar to last season’s team, only different. There will still be plenty of familiar faces on the field. Those faces, however, will just be more determined and focused.
Last year’s wide-eyed and bushy-tailed freshmen class enters this season as a battle-tested sophomore class with a chip on its shoulder. This year’s upperclassmen have certainly not forgotten the sting of last year’s season-ending loss at the hands of rival Warsaw. The 2012 experience was a rough one for the Lady Warriors, but it may have laid the foundation for an exciting 2013 campaign.
Even where major changes were made, Warrior fans will find familiarity. Longtime Lakeland Youth Center coach and Syracuse resident Doug Heinisch will enter his first season as Lady Warriors head coach. Heinisch will provide an easy transition for many of the girls who have known him from LYC and community functions. After working with his team over the summer, the rookie head coach likes what he sees.
“The first thing we tried to establish was just to learn how to play. They are still learning but I think we are to the point where we know what we need to do, we just have to execute it. That’s phase two,” Heinisch stated.
Advancing to that execution stage was a tough task for the Lady Warriors last season and will be no easier to accomplish this year with the absence of 2013 WHS graduate Lexy Blunk from the field. Fortunately, Wawasee has some fire power ready to make an impact.
Senior Priscilla Par will be one of the key pieces to any success the Lady Warriors will have this season. Par was definitely not shy about what she expects from her final season in the green and gold.
“I want to win the sectional. I think we have a much more experienced team this year and more talent with the freshmen to help us and I just think it will be a good year,” stated Par.
To make some noise in the sectional, or even the Northern Lakes Conference, Wawasee will have to hold its own against teams like NorthWood, Concord and especially Warsaw. But Par likes her team’s chances this season thanks in part to Heinisch.
“He makes us run, a lot,” stated Par with a laugh. “But it’s good conditioning, it helps us out a lot,” Par added.
The only other seniors for Wawasee will be Zoe Abrams and Jaden Bussert. For Heinisch, the seniors have made his transition so much easier.
“Our seniors bring a lot of maturity and the understanding that you have to work hard. They are all energetic and that attitude is infectious for the rest of the girls,” Heinisch stated.
The rest of the team returns an entire slew of players that saw significant varsity minutes in 2012, including an intriguing junior class that features solid defenders Caitlin Clevenger and McKenzie Schmitt and a key player in sophomore goalie Nicole Streby.
The Lady Warriors start its season Monday night in LaGrange against Lakeland. The game is set to start at 5:00 p.m.