Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Rhiannon McKee beats a defender and takes a shot during a three-on-two drill at practice.
A young Lady Phoenix soccer team is looking to rebuild this year and find its rhythm.
The 16-player squad will only have a varsity incarnation this year after losing seven seniors this past spring to graduation.
Head coach Becky Lahetta is looking to newly-minted seniors Rhiannon McKee, Lauren Garcia, Serenity Crowley, and Arianna Ambrosio to help the freshmen settle into their new positions.
She expects returning goalkeeper Kenzie Tallman to big contributor in the back along with Mya Peters and Garcia, Oberlin’s main ball distributors.
Freshmen Alyssa Hicks-Watson and Kayliee Martinez are expected to help the team fill the cleats of graduated seniors Ali Halibison and Judith Lesesne.
“Alyssa’s going to play a very strong role in the back,” Lahetta said. Martinez is a quick forward who’s expected to help the team on offense.
The Lady Phoenix already faced Olmsted Falls in preseason action and held an alumni game to help the girls prepare for regulation play.
“It really opened our eyes to talking on defense and who you’re suppose to mark up on,” Lahetta said of the scrimmage.
She said by the end of the match against the Bulldogs the girls made huge improvement in talking and moving the ball.
“I’m trying out a lot of the girls in new positions for the scrimmages to see our team dynamic and where I can play some people,” Lahetta said.
The Lady Phoenix will travel to Cuyahoga Heights to face the Redskins at noon Aug. 22 to launch the regular season.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.