Local Sports Journal
The expectations are high at Oakridge High School, which heads into the girls soccer season with a solid nucleus of returning players and a group of talented newcomers.
Coach Jeff Lohman led the Eagles to a 17-1-2 record, a regional title and a berth in the state semifinals a year ago. The Eagles dropped a 2-0 decision to eventual state champion Hudsonville Unity Christian.
“The focus will be on skill development and a new system of play,” Lohman said. “Our expectations are high, but we also have a number of ninth graders who have to learn quickly how to succeed at a varsity pace of play.”
Lohman expects several of those freshmen to be able to step into the starting lineup who have plenty of experience in travel soccer.
One top returning players includes Keyara Wiard, who scored 12 goals and added four assists last season. The standout all-around athlete was first-team all-state in basketball and has a full ride to Grand Valley State University in the fall. Another senior, Ashley Weaver, scored nine goals and added 10 assists last season.
Top junior returnees include Aliza Olsen (7 goals, 4 assists) and Rebekah Shepherd (2 goals, 3 assists).
Shelbe Wilde scored 12 goals and had three assists a season ago as a freshman. Other sophomores returning include Emily Jacoutot, Megan Larabree and Nicole Karel.
Top newcomers include junior Hanna Lauser, an exchange student from Germany, along with freshmen McKenzie Davis, Hannah Jones, McKayla Wall, Brandy Weaver and Jade Ware.