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Solid defense will be booters' key to success

Front Row (L to R): Kaetlyn Ulinkski, Capt Sara Ruch and Samantha Pastewski. Second Row (L to R): Capt. Ellen Saville, Marina Ibarra, Janelle Zucarro, Chelsea Johnson, Capt. Paige Brinker, Haley Hill, Capt. Heather Lafnear and Alana Carroll. Back Row (L to R): Asst. Coach Aileen Myer, Brittany Johnson, Samantha Medici, Alora McCoy, Sabrina Doslak, Melissa Gierak, Shelby Hruska, Emma Richmond, Head Coach Larry Ferris Not Pictured: Darien Bandel (Keeper). (click for larger version)
April 04, 2012 - A solid defense will be the Oxford girls varsity soccer team's strength this season.

Coach Larry Ferris said the team has very good personnel to perhaps improve on the squad's third place finish last season in the White Division of the Oakland Activities Association.

The team lost three seniors from last year and Ferris expects the current seniors to help lead the way.

"I always expect us to do well and we have some very good personnel. I would like to finish at least third in our league."

The lady Wildcats started the season with an 8-0 whitewash of defending league champion West Bloomfield but then fell to Lahser, 3-1.

Ferris said the loss to Lahser came down to a couple of mistakes in the first half that put the Wildcats in a 2-0 hole. The lady Cats played a strong second half with each group netting one goal.

"We played very well in the second half," Ferris said. "We need to learn to play together and we will be very good."

Ferris said the team is anchored by keeper Darien Bandel, a sophomore, with excellent athletic ability. "We expect great things from her," Ferris said.

Senior backs Paige Brinker and Ellen Saville, are the two captains while fellow senior sisters Chelsea and Brittany Johnson are key midfielders. Senior Sara Ruch is also a key defender.

Sam Pastewski is one of the strikers expected to contribute. Alora McCoy is a sophomore who Ferris said has stepped up and played well.

"We are very good defensively and we have some good scorers," Ferris said.

Marina Ibarra and Samantha Medici are two key parts of the group and Melissa Gierak is the only freshman who is starting.

"We have some very good starters and a great bench," Ferris said.

Ferris said the group of girls is stronger this year after an off-season conditioning regimen that helped with core development.

"We have some tough games ahead of us but I know the girls' hard work in the off-season will help pay off. We need to learn to play together as a team but we will do it and become a better team" Ferris said.

Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.
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