Area girls soccer teams have already gotten their seasons underway.
And it seems like it will be many of the same programs that will be fighting for area league championships this year.
Liberty-Benton, the defending champs in the North Central Ohio Soccer Association, was hit hard by graduation losing all-Ohio stars Kayla Trevino, now playing at Northwood University, and Sam Johnson.
Sophomore Jensen Hiegel is the top returning offensive player for the Eagles, who are off to a 0-1-1 start. She scored 10 goals with seven assists to help Liberty-Benton reach the regional finals last season.
Perennial NCOSA title contenders Van Buren and Riverdale should also be in the mix.
Riverdale lost a large senior class of eight talented players but coach Andrew Snook does return four starters including seniors Alex and Aubreah Manns.
At Van Buren, Tom Piccirillo returns the bulk of last year’s team that posted a 10-7-1 overall record that included a 5-2-1 mark in the conference. They are off to a perfect 3-0 start this season. Senior Nichole Miller, who scored 15 goals and added 12 assist, is one of five returning all-league or all-district players back for the Black Knights.
Kalida and Bluffton also claimed league championships in 2013.
The Wildcats have 15 players back from last year’s unit that went 14-2-2 and won the Putnam County League with a 3-0-1 mark. Junior Brittany Kahle is the top returnee after earning second-team all-state honors as a midfielder. Returnees Cathy Basinger and Mariah Doepker were also first-team all-league picks.
Bluffton’s girls soccer team finished just 8-7-3 overall, but its 4-1 record was good enough for them to share the inaugural Northwest Conference championship with Allen East.
The Pirates will be a young with just one senior on the roster. But there are plenty of veterans back for Bluffton as nine starters return including juniors Anna Fredritz, Rachel Moser, Hannah Conley and Alyssa Snyder.
Ottawa-Glandorf, with more than a dozen lettermen back and a new coach in Chris Podraski, is another area team to watch.
Below is a look at the area’s girls soccer programs. Information on Ada and Miller City’s teams was unavailable.
HEAD COACH: Joel Steinmetz (5th year, 22-42-7).
2013 RECORD: 8-7-3 overall, 3-2-2 North Central Ohio Soccer Association, 4-1 Northwest Conference.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jadyn Barhorst, soph., GK; Sarah Theisen, soph., F; Katie Burkholder, soph., MF; Ana Spiridigliozzi, soph., D; Brook Koontz, soph., MF; Anna Fredritz, jr., MF; Hannah Conley, jr., MF; Rachel Moser, jr., D; Alyssa Snider, jr., D.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kayla Kindle, fr.; Leah Conley, fr.; Abbie Parkins, soph.; Sydney Staton, soph.; Kelli Leugers, fr.; Ashley Augsburger, fr.; Mariah Fleming, sr.
NOTABLE: With one senior and four juniors on the 16-player varsity roster, the Pirates will be an extremely young team this season. Leading the way will be two returning all-Northwest Conference sophomores, Thiesen (second team) and Barhorst (honorable mention).
HEAD COACH: Toby Bidlack (12th year, 128-49-21).
2013 RECORD: 13-3-2 overall, 2-0-2 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Caitlin Geckle, sr., F/MF; Andrea Krendl, sr., D; Makenzie Mansfield, sr., D; Taylor Niese, sr., MF/F; Emma Recker, sr., GK; McKenna Scott, sr., F.
TOP PROSPECTS: Christina Sarka, sr., MF; Val Geren, jr., MF/D; Amelia Weller, jr., F/MF; Jaylen Armey, soph., MF; Paige Lawhorn, soph., F/MF; Ashley Mansfield, soph., GK; Kelsey Miller, soph., D; Cheyenne Morrison, soph., MF; Blair Tegenkamp, soph., MF; Jade Zachrich, soph., D/MF.
NOTABLE: The Pirates lost some talented players from last year’s unit that advanced to the regional semifinals, including all-Ohioan Paige Ordway. Geckle, Niese and Scott are all three-year letterwinners and form the backbone of what looks to be another solid team at Continental.
HEAD COACH: Mark Schwemer (2nd year, 6-8-4).
2013 RECORD: 6-8-4 overall, 3-3-2 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Shiann Ludwig, sr., MF; Rachel Welch, sr., MF; Becca Schutz, jr.; Kylee Desgranges, jr., FB; Ally Huether, jr., MF; Caroline Schutz, soph., MF/F; Nicki Biery, soph., FB; Brooklyn Shoemaker, soph., MF/F; Dana Desgranges, soph., F.
TOP PROSPECTS: Bekah White, sr., F; Chloe Stagnolia, fr., FB; Amanda Collert, fr., FB; Alissa Rutherford, fr., FB/MF; Sarah Curth, fr., FB; Hayley Waltz, fr., MF; Hannah Bixler, fr., GK; Chloe Blackburn, fr., MF.
NOTABLE: Nine letterwinners are back at Cory-Rawson. Junior Becca Schutz is the top returning Hornet as she stung opponents for 14 goals and three assists while earning first team all-NCOSA honors last season.
HEAD COACH: Rodney Wagner (14th year, 137-66-25).
2013 RECORD: 8-6-4 overall, 2-1-1 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alyssa Louth, sr., MF; Alyssa Weideman, sr., FB; Erin Osting, sr. GK; Hannah Clay, sr., MF; Jenna Calvelage, sr., FB; Keri Eickholt, sr., MF; Sarah Chandler, sr, MF; Brandi Kaskel, jr. F; Jenna German, jr., MF; Jessica Young, jr., FB; Jordan Horstman, jr., F; Kasidy Klausing, jr. MF; Abby Von Sossan, soph, F; Erin Eickholt, soph., F.
TOP PROSPECTS: Lauren Core, soph.; Emily Freund, fr.; Rachel Kneale, fr.; Marissa Kreitemeyer, fr.; Brook Rice, fr.; Makenna Ricker, fr.; Vanessa Wallenhorst, fr.; Lillian Wisner, fr.; Allaina Zehender, fr.
NOTABLE: The Musketeers are loaded with experienced players and return starters in every sector of the field. Goalie Osting is a two-year letterwinner. Late-season injuries cost Fort Jennings last year so staying healthy will be a key this year.
HEAD COACH: David Kehres (9th year, 93-34-16).
2013 RECORD: 14-2-2 overall, 3-0-1 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Courtney Buss, sr., F/MF; Mariah Doepker, sr., D; Molly Ellerbrock, sr., D; Jackie Gardner, sr., MF/F; Megan Vine, sr., MF; Makenna Vorst, sr., MF/F; Cathy Basinger, jr., D; Alexa Ellerbrock, jr., F; Brittany Kahle, jr., MF/F; Joni Kauffman, jr., D; Laine Laudick, jr., MF/GK; Makenna Richey, jr., MF; Paige Roller, jr., MF/F; Hannah Kahle, soph., MF/F; Morgan Knapke, soph., GK/MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Alecia Dunn, fr., MF; Jaylen Vandemark, fr., MF/F; Hannah Warn, fr., F/MF; Taylor Zeller, fr., F.
NOTABLE: There’s one word to describe Kalida this fall — loaded. Brittany Kahle, a second team Division III all-Ohio selection headlines a list of returning players that include seven that earned first or second team all-league honors.
HEAD COACH: Mark Pagano (4th year, 42-9-4).
2013 RECORD: 18-1-1 overall, 8-0 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Lauren Marshall, sr.; Alexis Shoffstall, sr.; Monica Barger, jr.; McKenna DiRe, je.; Abby Rachel, jr.; Kayla Rachel, jr.; Jensen Hiegel, soph.; Brea Minnich, soph.; Sophie Norden, soph.; Leah Recker, soph.; Olivia Stuck, soph.
TOP PROSPECTS: Colbi Colchagoff, sr.; Sydney Barton, soph.; Lydia Zickert, sr.; Lily Johnson, sr.; Emma Swisher, fr.; Kennedy Briggs, fr..
NOTABLE: Graduation hit the Eagles fairly hard, costing them two second-team all-Ohio standouts and their two top offensive threats in Kayla Trevino (34 goals, 9 assists) sand Sam Johnson (16 goals, 13 assists). Also gone are Jana Fish (7 goals, 25 assists) Molly Siferd (6 goals) and Jessie Selhorst (4 goals, 6 assists), along with goalie Kaitlyn Hanrahan, who made 86 saves and posted 10 shutouts. L-B’s top returning offensive players are Hiegel (10 goals, 7 assists) and Barger (6 goals).
HEAD COACH: Joel Wilkins (3rd year, 10-22-1).
2013 RECORD: 3-13-1 overall, 2-6 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Jamie Miller, jr., F; Tori Chaney, jr., F; Paige Sigler, jr., MF; Natalie Ford, soph., MF; Lexie Smith, jr., MF; Ally Weinandy, jr., GK; Becka Karcher, soph., D; Olivia Allomong, jr., D; Maddison Cordell, jr., MF; Katelyn Seifert, sr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Eva Pahl, sr.; Beth Dundore, soph., MF; Lizzie Schumacher, jr., D; Brooke McClain, jr., D; Kara Theis, jr., D.
NOTABLE: The Warriors have 11 returning players from last year’s unit which was 3-13-1 in just its second year as a varsity program. Expect plenty of improvement throughout the year, though, as there are just two seniors on Wilkins’ 16-player roster.
HEAD COACH: Chris Podraski (6th year, 65-22-8)
2013 RECORD: 9-4-5 overall, 3-3-3 Western Buckeye League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Erin Basinger, sr., D; Emma Bruskotter, sr., M; Danielle Ellerbrock, jr., D; Elissa Ellerbrock, sr., D; Katie Fuetter, soph., F; Marna Hempfling, sr., F; Paige Klass jr., D; Megan Scheckelhoff, sr., D; Kylie Schimmoeller, jr., F; Danielle Schroeder, sr., M; Ashley Siefker, sr., F; Megan Siefker, sr., F; Alex Verhoff, jr., F; Grace Warnecke, sr., M.
TOP PROSPECTS: Brooke Beach, soph., F; Kylie Gerdeman, soph., M; Alexis Schroeder, soph., M; Cassie Schroeder, soph., GK; Leanna Zynda, soph., F.
NOTABLE: Podraski returns to the sidelines for his second stint as O-G’s head coach. From 1998 through 2002, Podraski posted a 65-22-8 record that included two Western Buckeye League titles, three straight regional tournament appearances and a 52-4-5 record his last three seasons as head coach. Podraski takes over a veteran team with nine seniors among O-G’s 14 returning letter winners. Led by Megan Siefker (21 goals, 2 assists), five of last season’s top six scorers are back.
HEAD COACH: Tim Kimmet (5th year, 42-41-3).
2013 RECORD: 5-11-1 overall, 0-4 Putnam County League.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Robyn Turnwald, sr.; Courtney Von Sossan, sr.; Haley Landwehr, sr.; Alexis Wannemacher, sr.; Lyndsey Wannemacher, sr.; Megan Lambert, sr.; Carly Kortokrax, jr.; Dana Eickholt, jr.; Erica Brickner, jr.; Alena Horstman, jr.
TOP PROSPECTS: Lyndsay Schweller, fr.; Nicole Williams, fr., Amber Williams, fr.; Amber Miller, fr.; Brittany Winhover, fr.; Megan Burgei, fr.; Breana Bowersox, fr.; Kaitlyn Kelch, fr.; Elyse Baker, fr.; Madicyn Schnipke, fr.
NOTABLE: Alena Horstman and Courtney Von Sossan were second-team all-PCL last season. The Big Green returns an experienced team and will carry nine freshmen on its 19-player roster.
HEAD COACH: Andrew Snook (5th year, 47-19-6).
2013 RECORD: 13-4-1 overall, 7-1 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alex Manns, sr., D; Aubreah Manns, sr., D; Katie Conley, jr., MF; Kelsay Martin, jr., D; Lexi Bahn, jr., MF; Megan Dunbar, jr., MF; Taylor Frey, jr., F; Hannah Morris, soph., D; Sydney Holderman, soph., MF.
TOP PROSPECTS: Brooke McKamey, fr., MF; Gabi Rodriguez, fr., F; Haley Beltz, fr., D; Jenna Livingston, fr., GK; Justine Halcomb, soph., D; Katie Benitez, fr., F; Lexie Wright, fr., MF; Reygan Frey, fr., MF; Taylore Theis, soph., MF.
NOTABLE: Snook will be faced with a bit of a rebuilding job this season at Riverdale as eight seniors graduated last spring and seven of them were four-year letterwinners. The cupboard isn’t completely bare though as six of the team’s 24 players were starters last season.
HEAD COACH: Patrick Massara (1st year).
2013 RECORD: 8-7-2 overall, 3-4-1 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Alison Moser, sr.; MaKenna Searls, jr., GK; Allison Riedlinger, sr., F/MF/D; Abby Young, sr., D; Jaime Calvin, sr., MF; Mallorie Weininger, sr., D; Sierra Carey, soph., MF; Abigail Gerber, soph., MF; Grace Miller, soph., F/MF; Sierra Matthews, sr., MF/D.
TOP PROSPECTS: Kenzie Ritter, fr., MF; Aspen Conley, fr., MF/D; Alexis Mundy, jr., MF/D; Adrienne Weininger, fr., MF; Trudy Daughenbaugh, soph., F/MF; Megan Hensel, fr., M/GK; Maddison Stansbery, soph., MF; Kate Ritchey, soph., D; Riley Stover, jr., MF/D; Shelby Slavey, fr., MF/D; Katie Coppler, fr., D.
NOTABLE: Moser is the top returnee for the Rams as she earned first-team all-NCOSA honors last season. Mallorie Weininger was an honorable mention all-league pick as a defender.
HEAD COACH: Tom Piccrillo (6th year, 56-28-5).
2013 RECORD: 10-7-1 overall, 5-2-1 North Central Ohio Soccer Association.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Nichole Miller, sr., MF; Kristin Conner, sr., MF; Rachel Wymer, sr., MF; Bailei Hoyng, sr., MF; Bri Lasley, jr., D; Brianna Barnhisel, jr., MF; Gabbi McCracken, jr., MF; Taylor Gilliland, jr., F; Boston Siferd, soph., D; Marly McCartney, soph., GK; Kamey Boney, jr., F.
TOP PROSPECTS: Annie Mowrey, fr., MF/F; Janelle Keck, fr., MF; Josie Masters, fr., MF/F; Kailee Missler, fr., MF; Lisa Simmons, fr., F; Madison Swope, fr., D; Sadie Piehl, fr., D; Callie Marshall, soph., MF; Emma Scarberry, fr., MF; Amelia Durliat, fr., D.
NOTABLE: Five all-league or all-district players are back for Van Buren. Miller headlines the list as she scored 15 goals and dished 12 assists while earning a spot on the all-NCOSA first team along with teammate Gabbi McCracken. A big class of nine freshmen could also play a key role for the Black Knights.