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Coming off of a district semifinal appearance in Class AA last season, the Ridgway Lady Elker girls soccer team comes back with optimism for the 2011 season.
â€śWe have a total of 22 girls this year which is about the same as last year,â€ť Ridgway coach Greg Maddalena said. â€śGood numbers, very good numbers for the co-op. This year, I got five girls from Johnsonburg. Itâ€™s really working out, Iâ€™m really loving the co-op, both schools are great to work with. I really think weâ€™re going to make it back to where we were last year.â€ť
Maddalena said the Lady Elkers have eight returning starters back from last yearâ€™s team and also eight seniors.
â€śI think weâ€™re really going to be a successful team this year,â€ť Maddalena said. â€śThey know they have to earn your wins. I feel we have a very competitive team. The girls are starting to believe in themselves. They have a good work ethic, I really think itâ€™s going to be a promising year.â€ť
A staple of the girls soccer team has been defense prowess and Maddalena said this yearâ€™s team will be no different.
â€śEver since Iâ€™ve been coaching, defense has been the backbone,â€ť Maddalena said. â€śLast year, we started to show our offensive play. I think this year, everything is going to come together and click for hopefully a great season.â€ť
The team is not all defense, however. Strikers Rhianon Fowler and Courtney Bush provide a strong presence of speed on the front line.
â€śEverybody contributes, everybody is a factor on this team, thatâ€™s all I can ask for,â€ť Maddalena said. â€śThatâ€™s all I can ask for. A team thatâ€™s very competitive and wanting to win. Itâ€™s just really, really fun. The program has really taken off with girls soccer.â€ť
Maddalena hopes to see his offense succeed and put up good amounts of goal scoring this year and not let teams linger.
â€śI would love to see four or five goals a game,â€ť Maddalena said. â€śWe could dominate, dominate, dominate but we canâ€™t finish. We could leave a team hanging around. These girls are another year older and I think they can take care of finishing games this year. I think itâ€™s going to be a fun season this year.â€ť