Last season: 13-3-2, lost 2-1 to Bremen in Class A LaVille Sectional semifinals.
Key losses: Pat Connelly, MF; Liam Monroe, GK.
Key returners: Ian Baker, Sr., MF/D; Alex Avery, So., D; Vincente Pacheco, Jr., D/MF.
Key newcomers: Francisco Paco Alonzo, Jr., F; Kieran Larkin, Fr., CM; Ethan Irsa, Fr., MF.
Outlook: Austin Cogdill takes over a Blazers team that won 13 games last year under A.J. Monroe. Marquette lost 11 seniors, but Cogdill still expects to have a better record than that team, perhaps backed up by a No. 6 ranking in the preseason Class A coaches poll. “We have a fundamentally proficient team which will help us maintain consistency throughout the season,” he said. Cogdill pointed out Baker and Larkin as players who will hold key roles in how the year pans out. “Baker is the leader of the team and sets the tone and pace for everything we do,” Cogdill said. “I also expect great things from freshman Kieran, he is mentally tough and has a high soccer IQ. (Will and Kieran) work well together and will be essential to our success.”
Last season: 8-5-3 (2-5 Duneland Athletic Conference), lost 1-0 to Chesterton in Class 3A Portage Sectional.
Key losses: Riley Shreve, F/MF; Riley Buckler, MF; Jacob Kiser, MF.
Key returners: Omar Serrano, Sr., F/MF; Nathan Stevenson, Sr., D.
Key newcomers: Andrew Oleksiuk, Fr., F.
Outlook: The Wolves come off a season where they pushed eventual Class 3A champion Chesterton to the brink in a 1-0 loss in the sectional. Serrano is someone coach David Harris is looking at to be a key playmaker, noting he is willing to shoulder that load. Stevenson, who also kicks for the football team, is a big body that gives the Wolves a physical presence on their back line. “Our team’s strength is our athleticism. We have several fit, fast, intelligent young men.” Harris said. “We are looking to play simple, quick soccer, with purposeful possession. Team goals of an over .500 record overall and within the DAC were goals set for this season. “These were set by the players, who are eager to improve and have improved over the years they’ve been with the team,” Harris said. “We are hoping the few bounces that have not gone our way in the DAC during the last seasons instead go our way with our style of play.”
Last season: 3-12-1 (1-4 Porter County Conference), lost 12-2 to Bremen in Class A LaVille Sectional opener.
Key losses: Blake Henderson, MF; Elliot Bogart, F; Dustin Fischer, D.
Key returners: Dylan McKern, Jr., D; Carson Miller, Jr., GK; Alex Magaña, Sr., F.
Key newcomers: Sam Bovard, Fr., D.
Outlook: With only a few upperclassmen, coach James Martin knows the Blackhawks will be less experienced than most opponents, but thinks he has a team that’ll embrace the challenge. “I do believe everything starts with defense, which is something we did not do well as a team last year,” Martin said. “We’ll look to pride ourselves on better defensive positioning and pressure. I will rely on my midfielders to fill in the extra space and use good team communication to get this job done.” Magaña will be an option up front for the Blackhawks. McKern, Bovard, along with Miller will be important in hopes of improving team defense. “It will be a tough fight for Westville, but I look to improve the record by a few wins this year and continue building this soccer program,” Martin said.
Last season: 5-9-1, lost 5-4 to Morgan Twp. in Class A Wheeler sectional opener
Key losses: Claire Salyer, CM; Kassandra Loza, D.
Key returners: Maddie Rowley, Jr., CM; Riley Lindsey, Jr., MF/GK.
Key newcomers: Sydney Burroughs, Fr., GK; Paige Burroughs, Fr., F/MF; Yatziry Barrera Vazquez, So., F/MF; Katharina Gottschlich, Fr., F/MF.
Outlook: It’ll be the second year of the rebuild for the Blazers under coach Wil Cogdill. Salyer – last year’s team leader in goals and assists – is gone, as is Loza, someone Cogdill said provided tremendous leadership despite a season-ending injury. Rowley will be stepping up to center-midfielder with Lindsey. The starting keeper for the past two seasons, Lindsey will be leaving the goal most games to play midfield. “The team will rely on the two years of varsity experience that Maddie and Riley bring to the team,” Cogdill said. “They’ll be key to our team’s success this season.” Freshman Sydney Burroughs brings several years of goalie experience with her, and she’ll step in when Lindsey moves up to the midfield. Paige Burroughs, Barrera Vazquez and Gottschlich will be depended on offensively. Seniors Naya Blakely and Sydni Thomas and sophomore Katelyn Dixon hope to shore up the back end. “Our season goal is to best last year’s record and that’s something I feel very confident that this team can accomplish,” Cogdill said.
Last season: 4-11-1, 1-6 Duneland Athletic Conference, lost 9-0 to Valparaiso in Class 3A Valparaiso Sectional championship.
Key losses: Alex Pomeroy, F; Bailee Laux, D; Jael Martin, MF.
Key returners: Mary Pat Kelley, Jr., MF; Olivia Shinn, Jr., F; Maggie McLinden, So., MF; Aviana Garner, Jr. D, Erin McGuire, Jr., MF, Aryanna Hartsburg, Jr., GK.
Key newcomers: Sofia Piazzisi, Fr., MF.
Outlook: The Wolves earned a sectional win and a finals berth last season, which coach Michael Ramsey said was a fun experience for the team despite the lopsided result. City returns many of its starters and is led by a strong junior class highlighted by Kelley, who was team MVP and an All-DAC selection as a sophomore. Garner was the team’s Defender of the Year. Kelley (five goals) and Shinn (four goals) accounted for nine of the Wolves’ 15 goals, so McClinden and McGuire will be looked at to provide a boost up front. Hartsburg is back as goalie after appearing in all 16 matches last year.
Last season: 2-13-1 (2-3 Porter County Conference), lost 11-1 to Wheeler in Class A Wheeler Sectional opener.
Key losses: Kelsie Nichols, F/MF/D; Morgan Bruns, D; Reina Steppe, GK.
Key returners: Chloe Fortune, Sr., MF/F; Sydney Patla, Sr., D/MF.
Key newcomers: Alliyah Vera, Sr., D; McKenna O’Hara, Sr., D.
Outlook: The Blackhawks will face an uphill battle as outside of four senior and a couple juniors, the players are new to the game and soccer in general. “It’ll be a rebuilding year, learning how to work together on the field,” coach Brian Ton said. Nichols, who is playing club soccer at Ball State, was someone who played everywhere but goalie and will be a key loss. Fortune returns as the team’s top offensive player along with Patla, who will play a couple of spots. “They’re both good captains,” Ton said. “They’re good at pumping up the other girls and they don’t just yell to yell; they’re telling them where to make the play.” Vera, who didn’t play last year, and O’Hara will also play defense. “We scrimmaged against Hebron and we had a few runs on goal after having none last year,” Ton said. “We’ll play hard and finish games out strong and make little kind of tweaks, like not kicking the ball around or losing positioning on defense. We want to make some good stuff happen.”
Note: Information on La Porte’s boys team wasn't available.
Note: Information on La Porte’s girls team ran in August 19's Herald-Argus.
— Compiled by CJ Peters