When Ray Wiederholt took over the Storm Lake girls soccer program in 2006, the Tornadoes had won a total of just three games in the previous two years.
"I told them during our first meeting that we were going to have a winning seaon," the head coach said of last year's preseason speech. "The girls just kind of gave me that look like, 'yeah right.'"
The Tornadoes went 7-6, the best record in school history.
Now, in his second season at the helm, Wiederholt is hoping to take the Tornadoes-who lost six starters to graduation-past the district semifinals where their season ended last year.
"We'll attempt to obtain a better record and make it to the district finals," the Minnesota native said. "We're looking to play good team soccer, move the ball around and attack and defend as a team."
Wiederholt's club features seven key returnees and letterwinners, led by junior Kyrie Butler and sophomore Haley Owens, both of whom received all-state honorable mention last year.
Other key returnees are juniors Evelin Aldaba and Elisha Lenhart, and sophomores Stevie Pederson and Teri Gonzalez. The coach mentioned that freshmen Annie Brophy and Priscilla Rebollozo, as well as sophomores Laura McDowell and Letecia Becerra, are showing potential early in the season also.
"We have a young core of players that have played together; that is our biggest strengh," said Wiederholt. "Elizabeth Hixon, a senior, is a new goalie for us. She's never played goalie but she's doing a nice job learning a difficult position."
Butler and Owens should lead the way both offensively and defensively. Gonzalez and Rebollozo are key offensive forces, and Aldaba should strengthen things on the defensive end, the coach said.
April 3: At Carroll Kuemper, 5 p.m.
April 16: At Unity Christian, 4:30 p.m.
April 23: Vs. Unity Christian, 4:30 p.m.
April 26: Vs. Webster City, 5:30 p.m.
April 27: Vs. Hull Western Christian, 4:30 p.m.
April 30: At Hull Western Christian, 4:30 p.m.
May 3: At Spencer, 5 p.m.
May 7: Vs. Spirit Lake, 4:30 p.m.
May 11: At Sergeant Bluff, 4:30 p.m.
May 15: At Spirit Lake, 5:30 p.m.
May 18: Vs. Webster City, 4:30 p.m.
May 19: At Sioux City East JV Tourney, TBA
May 29: Regionals, TBA
June 7, 9: State, TBA