Girls:?Bock puts high expectations on veteran group

By Troy Banning

DFJ Sports Editor

WEBSTER CITY – Competing wasn’t the problem a season ago when the Webster City girls’ soccer team limped to a 4-10 record.

Closing, now that’s another story.

A lack of depth led to tired legs and late-match letdowns for the Lynx last spring, but head coach Greg Bock hopes that won’t be an issue over the next two months as he brings back a team loaded with experience.

“We were in almost every (match) until the end last year and then we just ran out of gas, but I think we’re going to be a little better of this year,” Bock said. “We still have kids that are learning the game, but we’ve also got a lot of experienced players.”

Bock will relay on his seven seniors for leadership, and all seven have played key roles in the development of the program in recent years.

Midfielder Rachel Hoffman was the team’s top scorer with five goals a season ago. Fellow midfielder Brenna Paukert also found the back of the net on several occasions.

Olivia Bernard will return to the wing, while Rachel Kauffman, Ashley Meyers, Samantha Garcia and Brittney Dodge are back on defense.

Kauffman’s athleticism gives the Lynx a quality sweeper, and Garcia will get to roam the field this season after serving as the team’s goalkeeper in 2012.

Sophomore striker Molly Gilbert is another threat; she punched in four goals last spring. Sarah Paukert, another sophomore, adds depth to the offense.

“We’re really feeling good this year if we can keep these kids healthy,” Bock said. “There’s a chance that this team could have the best record of any Webster City girls’ soccer team if we can get all of the pieces put together, and these girls have had wonderful, positive attitudes in practice. It’s just been great.”

That confidence has pushed Bock into switching schemes on the field as well.

“I’m employing a more aggressive formation and we’re really going to go for more scoring this year,” he said. “Last year we played more defensively because we had so many young kids. But this year we’re going to open it up.”

WCHS will rely on a rookie as its last line of defense, however. Freshman Maia Jaycox is expected to get the starting call at goalkeeper, but Bock says she’s more than capable.

“She’s got a lot of raw talent and skill,” he said. “Normally I wouldn’t start a freshman there, but I think she’s able. She’s just very quick and agile.”

The Lynx were originally scheduled to open the season on Monday against Fort Dodge, but that has been postponed until May 3. Their new season opener is slated for next Thursday against Mason City.