Lady Pioneers seek to add program cornerstones in 2013

Team: Leavenworth girls' soccer

Last year’s record: 5-12

Coach: Ken Lott

Coach’s record: 5-12

Key returnees:
* senior Lacie Thorton, goalkeeper. Upperclass player who waited her turn to start and will get the chance in 2013

* senior AJ Hochard, defender. Strong and resilient defender

* senior Alex Hill, defender. Another strong and experienced defender

* junior Kynser Wahwahsuck, midfielder. Creator who will surprise opponents with her talent on the inside

* sophomore Kady Swanson, midfielder/forward. Scorer who has a knack for creating havoc and opportunities

* sophomore Lauren Shoffner, defender/midfielder. Aggressive player who gives versatility to the squad

* junior Helen Pepper, defender/midfielder. One of several improved Lady Pioneers expected to contribute

* sophomore Megan Besmer, midfielder/forward. High hopes surrounding the recently healthy scorer

Newcomers to watch:
* senior Nathalia Nascimento, midfielder/forward. Exchange student from Brazil that will bring more creativity offensively to the lineup

* junior Amara Drew, defender. Transfer from Missouri that will strengthen the backline

* junior Rachael Miles, defender/midfielder. Back in the sport after missing her sophomore year

* sophomore Alexa Allen, defender. Aggressive defender that has shown smart decision making skills so far

* freshman Hannah McGurk, midfielder/forward. Offensive-minded midfielder

* freshman Brenna Stoffle, defender/midfielder. Tactical player that will provide quality depth

* freshman Sydney Styler, midfielder/forward. Speedy top of the box type of player

Team Outlook: STRENGTHS — Athleticism, enthusiasm and competitiveness are the three strongest assets Lott has seen from his squad so far this spring.

“The team this year is a youthful team with junior and senior led experience. This is more of a building year than a championship run, but don’t tell this team that, they won’t believe it; they are in it to win it.”

WEAKNESSES — Though youthfulness brings many good qualities, it's also accompanied with inexperience, which may be the biggest obstacle Leavenworth will have to deal with in 2013.

Big games: At Lansing March 26; At Shawnee Heights March 28; Versus Junction City March 30; Versus Topeka High April 5; Versus Olathe North April 9

Coach says: “After going 5-12 last year, and having an experienced team, this year will be a rebuilding year with great potential.

“The team, the parents and I are expecting this season to be an exciting one. Our playing style will determine the outcome.

“Team bonding and trusting one another will eventually determine our results for the season as well as regional play. Commitment, belief and determination are our goals and if we can just let the first one lead, the rest will come”