Second-year Woodmore girls soccer coach Bob Berfield is encouraged with the
progress this year's team has made, and he's excited about the talent the Wildcats will put on the field in the coming years.
"Watch out for the future," Berfield said. "I have some freshmen coming up who look absolutely amazing."
This year's team, led by senior captains Mallory Belair, Amanda Hefflinger and Kate Wegart, is no slouch. The 'Cats went a combined 5-10-3 last season but are already 5-4-1 in 2009, with six league games remaining.
"I like the confidence that they've come to grow in themselves," Berfield said. "It's a vast improvement over last year. They've played together for a couple years and they've played under me for a couple years. I know what to expect out of them and they know what to expect out of me. We've made a couple of minor changes, but nothing really major to speak of."
Woodmore competes in the Suburban Lakes League and the MSSL, which includes Cardinal Stritch, Van Buren and Liberty-Benton.
Last year the Wildcats went 1-5-1 in the SLL, 2-3-1 in the MSSL and 2-1-1 in non-league games. This season they are 2-2-1 in the SLL, 2-1 in the MSSL and 1-1 against non-league foes.
Woodmore, which returned 11 starters from a year ago, has scored 19 goals and allowed 12 this season, with three shutouts.
"We had a couple of good wins early," Berfield said. "They weren't huge wins by any means, but they were in the aspect of a confidence booster for us. We beat Otsego 1-0 and Eastwood 1-0."
The Wildcats are led by Belair, a defender, Hefflinger, an attacker who leads the team in assists, and Wegart, who has 28 saves as the team's keeper.
"Mallory is a strong player, very fast and she anticipates the ball well," Berfield said. "She started out as a forward and we moved her to the backfield, where she's made a huge difference. Amanda was a really strong player last year. She had some issues this year but she's overcome those. The last couple games we've seen a huge improvement in her. I think she's on the rebound.
"Kate is an absolutely phenomenal keeper this year. She has grown leaps and bounds over last year. I can't say enough about Kate right now."
Woodmore's other returning starters from last season are senior midfielders Lauren Avers and Tori Klickman, junior sweepers Bekka Henck and Brittany Linke, junior defenders Mallory Seibenaler and Haley Stout, and junior middle forward Jessie Wolfe, who has a team-high six goals.
Also returning are sophomore defenders Taylor Avers and Brittany Wolford and sophomore attacker Kaylin Tate.
"My expectations were to do twice as good as last year, and I think we've exceeded that already," Berfield said. "My seniors really came together and have pulled this team together and have shown great leadership, both on and off the field."
The Wildcats begin postseason play in about three weeks, in the Division II sectional at Genoa. Woodmore went 1-1 at sectionals in 2008, but Berfield has higher expectations this time around.
"I'm really hopeful we'll make it to districts, which would be a first for the girls," the coach said. "What they're doing right now is going to get them there. They have a great attitude and the want and the willpower to get it done."