New schools within the co-op.
New faces on the roster.
A new head coach.
Same solid results.
That’s been the case for the Rock County Fury, the area’s girls co-op hockey team, through the first month of the season.
Despite a litany of newcomers, the Fury currently sit with a 7-1-2 record and are ranked fifth in the state. They can seize early control of the Badger Conference with a victory Tuesday night against Sun Prairie at Edwards Ice Arena in Beloit.
“I feel very confident, and the girls do, too,” Fury coach Luke Steurer said. “They’re always working hard and pushing each other. This last game (a 5-0 triumph over the Metro Lynx), we changed the lines up a little bit. We only had two practices with the new lines, but the girls really buy into it.”
The co-op, which officially is tied to Beloit Memorial High, now includes players from nine schools and, despite its name, is not limited to Rock County.
A roster-high seven players come from Milton, and six are from Janesville (five of them from Janesville Craig). There are three players from Monroe, two each from Albany, Turner, Beloit Memorial and Brodhead and one player from Clinton.
The five top scorers up to this point come from four different schools—including Craig senior Zoie Steig, who has nine goals and five assists—showing that the co-op is certainly not leaning on one community.
“It’s always changing,” said Milton senior Maggy Henschler, who leads the team with 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists). “It’s a big co-op. We come to practice, and it’s different from our school friends. Everyone’s different, so it adds a little bit to our team.
“Some girls communicate through Team Wisconsin or something like that, but some of the girls, you don’t know them coming in.”
The Fury players did, however, know Steurer, who is in his first year as the team’s head coach. He had been the team’s goalie coach for the past four seasons and took over the reins when Dave Soddy resigned earlier this fall.
“He’s been here my entire career, so I’ve known him and talked to him all the time,” Henschler said. “It was a pretty easy transition.”
Steurer feels he has a luxury that many high school teams don’t, and that’s the ability to roll through three offensive lines without a major dropoff. He’s even got a fourth line in the works that could see varsity ice time in the near future.
The Fury have outscored their opponents 50-11 through the first 10 games, with senior goalie McKaylie Buescher (Milton) boasting six shutouts.
The season is young, but the Fury undoubtedly have their eyes on returning to the state tournament at the Coliseum in Madison. They reached state for the first time in 2016 and lost 3-2 in overtime of a sectional final to Sun Prairie last year.
“It’s nice, because you see teams that are just rolling two lines out, and we can put three and tire them out in the first and second periods,” Steurer said. “I feel we’re a step ahead of some teams in the third period thanks to their work with strength and conditioning.
“The girls know what they’re capable of.”