Stepping onto the Suburban Lakes League pitch for the very first time in their history, the up-and-coming Genoa Lady Comets’ soccer team looks to improve on longtime Coach Kevin Rhoades’ lifetime 29-49-10 record and build a tradition.
The Comets have started the season doing just that with four consecutive shutout victories — defeating Oak Harbor on the road, 2-0; Cardinal Stritch at home, 5-0; and both Otsego, 4-0, and Woodmore, 2-0, on the road.
The team is building on a success story that started last season, said Coach Rhoades.
“I attribute last year’s success to working together as a team,” echoes Coach Rhoades, whose then-emerging, MSSL-based soccer squad finished with a 5-3-2 record in the conference.
“We played as a team rather than as individuals,” he explains proudly, “because every single one of my players stands out on the field. That’s our biggest strength by far. In our run to regionals, and winning district last year, it took each of us to accomplish that achievement.
“Now, we look to Eastwood as being the team to beat in the SLL, due to their history of a successful girls’ program,” adds Rhoades.
The Comets travel to Eastwood September 23 for a 5 p.m. contest.
Rhoades is keeping one eye carefully trained on what lies ahead for his Comets in the SLL, and the other still firmly focused upon the road map of solidarity that got them there in the first place.
“And I also see Lake and Woodmore as stepping up, and surprising many people in the SLL this fall,” Rhoades added.
Already having one victory over Woodmore under its belt, Genoa will host the ‘Cats on Sept. 30. Genoa travels to Lake this Wednesday, Sept. 17.
The Comets are looking to returning Second-Team All-District performer, official “Lady of the House” on defense, and senior leader Melissa Curry to build a foundation in the SLL. She can single-handedly deconstruct the opposition’s best offensive player on any given night, says Rhoades, as she proved last year, by allowing her team to outscore opponents by a margin of 17 goals (46-29).
On the offensive side of the street, watch for freshman Rachel Albright at the mid/forward position, along with a dynamic duo in key newcomers Melanie Gregory and Nicole Kramer. The versatile Sarah Welch, a sophomore, will most certainly be deployed to help out on the maroon and gray’s sturdy “D,” and at the mid-field position, as well.
“We realized, after a few key losses, that if we stick together as a team, we accomplish every goal we set for ourselves,” interjects Rhoades. “Once we realized that, we turned things around, beating Eastwood for the first time in school history, and knocking off key opponents in sectionals.”
“Our match up with Liberty Benton (Oct. 2 at L-B) will be crucial in setting the tone for our season,” he adds, “and the opportunity to compete for, and win an SLL championship, the first time ever for girls soccer, is something we look forward to.”