Chippewa County

Younger, athletic Cardinals have excessive ceiling



Chi-Hello women soccer coach Steve Bengtson watched 10 seniors stroll out the door with diplomas on the finish of final season and has nothing however younger, unproven query marks to fill within the gaps. The Large Rivers Convention at all times produces difficult opponents and the Cardinals have been within the backside half of the league a yr in the past.

However Bengtson isn’t frightened. In reality, he’s keen, identical to his new crop of gamers.

“I’m enthusiastic about this yr,” Bengtson mentioned. “I’ve been teaching for 20 years however this group is simply very nice athletes. I’ve by no means had fairly as many actually stable athletes as I’ve on this workforce.”

The Cardinals carry again 5 juniors anticipated to be the cornerstones of the roster, together with captains Sara Oliver, Sydney Faschingbauer and goalie Sam Smith.

Past that it’s plenty of new faces. A category of six sophomores and 5 freshmen look to issue into the combo on what’s considered one of Chi-Hello’s youngest groups in years.

Persons are additionally studying…

What Chi-Hello lacks in expertise it makes up for in sheer athleticism. Bengtson is aware of that with slightly seasoning, this workforce might be one thing particular.

“We’re on the 15-month plan,” Bengtson mentioned. “We have now three months of this season, 9 months of the offseason and one other three months for subsequent season. I believe we might be very, superb. However we’ll see.”

That mentioned, this season isn’t only a throwaway for the Cardinals. It could take some time for Chi-Hello to catch as much as its opponents with extra expertise, however Bengtson has each confidence in his workforce’s capacity to compete.

“Soccer is considered one of these sports activities the place you don’t must be the perfect workforce to win,” Bengtson mentioned. “Numerous instances the perfect workforce loses simply because they lose focus for slightly bit or have a collection of breakdowns. This workforce is able to beating, I believe, anyone. Even at this younger age. We have now the athletes and we’ve got pace. We have now some good ball expertise. We’ll positively must have luck on our facet, however we will beat virtually anyone. I don’t assume I may say that basically about different groups I’ve had previously right here.”

Laying the groundwork for that success begins with workforce constructing. With such little expertise returning and a number of seasons for this group to develop, the women have a primary alternative to depart their mark on the Chi-Hello tradition.

“One among their main targets is to essentially have a good workforce. No cliques,” Bengtson mentioned. “That is actually a pleasant, tight workforce. They’ve all performed collectively at one time or one other rising up. This can be a merging of three courses mainly. The chemistry is de facto good.”

Chi-Hello opens the season at dwelling with a nonconference recreation in opposition to Holmen on Friday earlier than starting convention play in opposition to Rice Lake subsequent Tuesday. The Cardinals final received the BRC title in 2009.

Bengtson nonetheless doesn’t know who all his starters can be, however he rattled off his record of season targets from reminiscence with out hesitation. He needs the Cardinals to complete within the high three within the convention, win not less than one playoff recreation and be a workforce that scares others within the postseason.

Finally he’d prefer to see the workforce make it to the state event for the primary time in program historical past. He admits that’s a troublesome process this yr, contemplating the Cardinals must undergo a D.C. Everest squad that fell within the state title recreation final yr and returns the vast majority of their starters.

However that’s the type of enthusiasm that’s floating round this workforce. It could take a short while, however the ceiling may be very excessive.

“They’re simply an superior workforce,” Bengtson mentioned of the Evergreens. “My aim of going to state this yr is type of muted by that workforce. Then after all you’ve obtained to get by way of Memorial too. However I believe we’re going to scare them slightly bit towards the top of the yr.”

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