Craig soccer encouraged despite loss at Tremper
KENOSHA--Bill McCabe wasn’t sure what to expect from his Janesville Craig girls soccer team in its season opener Monday night.
The Cougars head coach was pleasantly surprised.
Host Kenosha Tremper scored three second-half goals on the way to a 4-0 victory, but the result was far from discouraging for the Cougars against a solid Division 1 opponent.
“We knew going against Tremper in the opener was going to be difficult, but it gave us a lot to look at and make some determinations,” McCabe said. “They played extremely well, especially in the first half.”
Brooke Munroe and Jen Wendling each scored twice for Tremper.
McCabe got his first true look at his new team. The Cougars advanced to WIAA Division 1 sectional play last year but lost a bevy of seniors.
On Monday, everything started at the back, as senior keeper Maddie Schroeder made 16 saves.
“She had a heck of a game,” McCabe said. “She really is (going to be a rock). We’re still sorting out our defense, but (senior) Jessica Martin played really well as a center back.
“Jessica and Maddie see everything on the field really well. They pretty much call a lot of the shots back there.”
Junior Lindsay Hamilton was also solid defensively and can play multiple positions.
McCabe also feels the Cougars will be sound in the midfield. Four-year starter Savannah Goicoechea is the team captain and plays alongside her sister, Sommer, a sophomore.
“We’re strong in the middle with good ball-handlers,” McCabe said. “Right now we’re just trying to figure out our wings.”
Sophomores Murray Ryan (defensive midfielder) and Samantha Champion (forward) are returning varsity players.
Senior Becca Kalish is a third-year varsity player and is part of a solid core of seniors.
“The senior leadership is terrific,” McCabe said. “The rest of the girls are mostly new and it’s a matter of sorting it out. Everyone in the program has got an opportunity to be brought up. It’s still open. We still want to give everyone an opportunity.”
The Cougars play again tonight at Lake Geneva Badger.