BRATTLEBORO -- Ten players have returned to the Leland & Gray varsity girls soccer team, which went 6-10 overall last season.
Those returnees are Ashley Bates, Rachel Borgesen, Giannina Gasparo-Beckstrom, Jordan Gouger, Emily Reilly, Emily Stockwell, Emily Thibault, Caroline Teitz, Abby Winrich and Haley Buffum. Thibault, Stockwell and Gasparo-Beckstrom are the team’s senior captains.
"Our two main goal scorers, Ashley Bates and Giannina, will look to add to their totals with help from a great group of new varsity players that will be joining us this season," said Rebels coach Lucas Bates. "We will have some competition for goalie this year -- Jordan Gouger will compete with our returning goalie, Emily Reilly."
Mackenzie Boyle, Emma Bourne, Skyler Nupp, Charly Sperling, Jessie Stockwell and Emma Urbaska are the varsity newcomers.
"All of the girls trying out for varsity and junior varsity this year went through a tougher readiness test and should be commended," said coach Bates.
The Rebels will open the season with a home game against BFA-Fairfax on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 11 a.m.
Leland & Gray roster: Coach -- Lucas Bates. Assistant -- Phoebe Connolly. Players -- Ashley Bates, Rachel Borgesen, Giannina Gasparo-Beckstrom, Jordan Gouger, Emily Reilly, Emily Stockwell, Emily Thibault, Caroline Teitz, Abby Winrich, Haley Buffum, Jordan Gouger, Emily Reilly, Mackenzie Boyle, Emma Bourne, Skyler Nupp, Charly Sperling, Jessie Stockwell, Emma Urbaska.
The Wildcats graduated a ton of offense, as the departing seniors scored 33 of the team’s 41 goals in 2013 -- 19 of those came from Savannah Nesbitt.
"Replacing the scoring load will be our biggest challenge in 2014," said Twin Valley coach Chris Walling, whose team went 9-7 last season and lost to Proctor in the Division 4 quarterfinals. "Caitlin Hunt will be relied on to score goals from the striker position and to have a breakout year in her sophomore year. Last year, Caitlin scored seven goals."
Natalie Herrick has big shoes to fill at center midfield, as she will replace two-time MVL and All Stater Savannah Nesbitt as the playmaker and will also have to find the back of the net for Twin Valley to be successful. Others that need to step up and carry the scoring load will be newcomers Sam Morse, Kassidy Walkowiak, Kirra Courchesne, Teya Johnson, Kaylea Niles, Cassie Bratton and freshman Tayler Courchesne.
"Defense should be our strongest point this season," stated Walling. "Jessica Fox will move from outside back and replace two-time MVL selection and All Stater Hannah Swanson at sweeper. Maya Holschuh, Hailey Howe, and Karlee Walkowiak all return with defensive experience from a year ago."
Other key contributors on defense will be sophomore Tabby Felisko and freshman Kendell Howe. Brianna Rafus returns to the net after missing last year with a torn ACL. Freshman Grace Rizio will serve as the backup netminder.
"Twin Valley is very young and inexperienced. Only eight juniors and seniors fill out the roster and with only six field players returning from a year ago, patience will be the word of the season," noted the Wildcats coach. "Our goals for 2014 are: improvement on a daily basis, patience will be key as we find our way offensively, and look to be playing our best soccer in October, once we develop that chemistry on the field."
The Wildcats will begin the season by hosting Black River on Wednesday, Sept. 3, at 6 p.m.
Twin Valley roster: Coach -- Chris Walling. Players -- Natalie Herrick, Jessica Fox, Maya Holschuh, Brianna Rafus, Caitlin Hunt, Hailey Howe, Karlee Walkowiak, Cassie Bratton, Kaylea Niles, Teya Johnson, Kirra Courchesne, Sam Morse, Megan Kehoe, Tabby Felisko, Kassidy Walkowiak, Tatyanna Bowman, Grace Rizio, Kendell Howe, Roxanne Birch, Jordyn Bolognani, Tayler Courchesne, Callie Dix, Molly Wrathall, and Grace Russell.