The defending Division 2 state champs have plenty of new faces around.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ soccer team has its work cut out for it in 2022.
Patriot League All-Stars Olivia Borgen, Ava Melia and Nora Manning have all graduated from last year’s D2 state title team. Borgen (Penn State) and Melia (Bryant) are both playing Division 1 soccer. Melia anchored the backline, while Borgen (team-high 23 goals and 14 assists) and Manning (12 goals and team-high 15 assists) provided some serious firepower up front.
Senior captain Kayla Cassidy, who is committed to play D1 herself for the University of Cincinnati, was supposed to shoulder even more of the load on offense. Except Cassidy, who pumped in 18 goals last fall (good for second on the team), tore her ACL and is out for the season.
“That’s big loss,” Floeck said. “That, on top of the senior class that we lost.”
It doesn’t end there.
Senior midfielder Madelyn Allen is also expected to miss most of the season due to injury.
“Between June and July, five of our players suffered season-ending injuries,” Floeck said. “It has been like nothing that I’ve ever seen. We’ve even had some other younger players that have shown well that have suffered some serious injuries that appear to have them out for the season.”
So who is healthy?
For starters, junior captain Makenna Marshall is and will lead the defense. Marshall has been on varsity since her freshman year.
“We’re really looking for her to provide that leadership on and off the field,” Floeck said. “She is a tremendous player. She has the respect of all her teammates and she’s been through the biggest games we’ve played in. We’re relying on her to be the leader of the team and for our back line.”
Fellow junior Savannah Kamperides joins her back there.
“Savannah played an important role for us last year so this year we’re looking for her to come back and be strong on the back line,” Floeck said.
While just juniors, Marshall and Kamperides are elder statesmen on the team, which features just one healthy senior in Ella Nagle.
“As our lone senior on the field right now we’re counting on her to kind of shoulder some of that load (on offense),” Floeck said.
Sophomore Maddie Fitzgerald should also play a key role on offense.
“She played significant time for us last year as a freshman and we’re really counting on her to step up and be a catalyst for our attack,” Floeck said.
It’s definitely a youth movement for the Panthers.
“We have some freshmen that are really being thrown into the fire,” Floeck said. “Even our bench is all freshmen and sophomores. Our mantra to get better every day and if you’re doing that hopefully the results are going our way.”
Floeck said he’s excited about the development of his program.
“We want to make sure we do it the right way,” he said. “We have a great opportunity that we’re not graduating much so if we can develop these players the right way this can really set us up going forward. We understand we’re going to make mistakes or they’re going to be in satiations they’ve never been in but we’re trying to work through that with them. Our league is not forgiving nor is the fact that I’m sure everyone wants to have a shot at us because we have had such success in the league over the years.”
The defending D2 champs are back in action on Thursday, Sept. 15 when they host Plymouth South at 6:30 p.m.
“We want to see growth,” Floeck said. “We know that there’s going to be growing pains. There are things that we’re used to our teams being able to do that we’re just not there yet and from a coaching staff perspective we have to realize that and be there to support our kids when we put them in some situations like a Whitman-Hanson-Hingham rivalry or Plymouth North or Silver Lake. Everything is an opportunity. We just want to keep a positive attitude and focus on the things that we can control. We’re hoping to get better every day and see where that puts us.”