3/14/2017 5:37:00 PM Lady Coalers return veterans for new soccer season
by Brent Sumner Staff writer
The Coal City girls soccer program will kick off their season with high hopes.
The Lady Coalers will be coached by Mike Kostbade, who is entering his 11th year at the helm. He will be assisted by Todd Painter.
Coal City finished last year in the middle of the pack with an overall record of 5-8 (4-5 conference), as they wound up falling in the Regional Semifinal to Joliet Catholic.
However, this year the program returns a solid cast of seniors ready to end their high school careers on a high note by making a strong run in the post season.
Seniors Aisha Malovski and Mikayla Norris return to the Lady Coaler's back line, putting plenty of experience in the defense.
Ashley Matusiak will also be a returning senior, and will provide some offense at the top, finishing last season with three goals and one assist.
The midfield will have two seniors returning, after both missed some action a year ago due to injury. Maggie Cochran and Leah Hiles enter the season healthy, and are ready to stretch the opposing defense while helping with scoring.
"We have a solid group of seniors that have experience playing in important games," said Kostbade. "Our captains (Malovski and Cochran) are remarkably focused and passionate about leading this team."
Along with the seniors, Kostbade will see the return of several underclassmen who are ready to contribute.
Junior Sarah Moore and sophomore Sydney Carlos will return to the defense, while other sophomores Helen Onsen (three goals), Hannah Flint (one goal) and Lauren Phillips (two assists) will also play bigger roles. Those three saw time last year as freshmen.
Also returning to the forward spot will be junior Bridget Kauzlaric, who led the team in scoring last year.
"All-Conference player Kauzlaric, who led the team in assists two years ago and led the team in scoring last year (six goals), will likely have another strong season," Kostbade added.
The Lady Coalers will be looking to improve on their record last year, and with that, comes their goal of being competitive within the I-8 Conference, and finish strong in the I-8 standings.
"Another goal of the team is to reduce last year's number of goals allowed by 50 percent," Kostbade said. "Combine that with a roster of many scoring options, the team hopes to advance much further into the playoffs this season."
However, the Lady Coalers' schedule will have plenty of teams to battle.
The team will start their season on Tuesday, weather permitting, when they travel to Reed-Custer for a non-conference match-up.
They will then travel to Morris next Thursday for a non-conference match-up.
"I am expecting the conference to be very competitive as a whole, with Lisle returning in strong form, along with Manteno, Peotone and Herscher," Kostbade said. "The toughest non-conference opponent will once again be Morris, who have shutout the Lady Coalers in two consecutive seasons."
The Lady Coalers will have four road games to start the season, before they host their home opener against Kankakee on April 10.
Coal City will kick off conference competition on April 11, when they host Wilmington.