Team: Waconia girls’ soccer
Head coach: Mike Bruggeman
Captains: Elise Rogers, Grace Watson
Section: 6A – Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Breck, Chaska, Delano, Holy Family, Mound-Westonka, Mayer Lutheran, Orono, Providence Academy, Rockford, Southwest Christian, Watertown-Mayer, International School, and West Lutheran
2011 finish: The Wildcats finished the 2011 season with a 5-11-1 overall record, fourth in the Wright County with a 4-3-1 conference record. Throughout the season, Waconia collected wins against Byron, Orono, Hutchinson, Mound-Westonka, and Glencoe-Silver Lake. The Wildcats scored 26 goals in 17 games, including eight in the game against Glencoe-Silver Lake, which they won 8-0.
The season ended Oct. 11 in the first round of Section 6 play, when the Wildcats fell to Chaska in a 2-1 contest. Chaska then lost to WCC champion Orono in the next round.
Key losses: The Wildcats are missing 2011’s five seniors from the squad, which included All-Conference player Sylvia Tristan, All-Conference Honorable Mention honorees Kelsie Gunnufson and Mady VonWald, as well as seniors Maria Spurbeck and Haley Sites. Without Gunnufson to start in goal for 2012, Bruggeman will have to fill the hole.
New coaches: With three new coaches, including Bruggeman and two assistants, there are certain to be changes for the Wildcats this season. But those changes come from a background of experience. The four coaches have over 50 years of coaching experience when combined, as well as over 50 years of experience on the field as players.
Key returnees / Prospects: With seven seniors and eight juniors on the team, the Wildcats are certain to be an upperclassmen-dominated squad this year. Returnees for the Wildcats include All-Conference honoree Kayla Christsensen and All-Conference Honorable Mention player Elise Rogers, also with fellow seniors Amy Parkinson, Kelly Luce, Elizabeth Bourgeois, Grace Watson, and Amber Rochet-Boeser. Luce returns to the field after missing most of last season due to a torn ACL in her knee. Bruggeman said despite the strong upperclassmen on the team, there will be opportunities for sophomores and freshman to play.
“We’re a more upperclassmen-oriented varsity team,” he said. “But there’s some good talent below and that’s exciting.”
Teams to beat: While Bruggeman isn’t quite sure yet who this season’s teams to beat will be, he said he is excited for Holy Family to join the conference and hopes it could spur a friendly, but competitive, rivalry.
First games: The season started rough for the Wildcats, who played in a Prior Lake tournament on Aug. 24 and 25. First falling to Prior Lake 11-0, Waconia also lost to Byron 4-2. Seniors Kayla Christensen and Elizabeth Bourgeois scored the Wildcats’ two goals against Byron.
Waconia will be at Delano on Aug. 30, before their home opener on Sept. 4 against Holy Family.