April 09, 2014 - Lady Wildcat Varsity Soccer is ready to kick off a new season, according to new Head Coach – Robert Euashka, who was hired to take over the program last November.
Top row (from left): Katrese Moll(10), Katie Kessler (12), Jessica Fallis (11), Molly Neeson (12), Samantha Pastewski (12), Cait Ulinski (12), Brittany LaBombard (12), Sam Medici (12), Melissa Gierak (11), Mary Everett (12), Emily Kargetta (11) and Kimi Matsumoto (12). Bottom row (from left): Mackenzie Eschberger (9), Christina Medici (10), Jade Schramm (9), Hannah Wilson (11), Hayley Hill (12), Sabrina Doslak (11), Karina Parker (10) and Erin Evans (12). (click for larger version)
"You will see a much more composed team on the ball that plays fast and looks to exploit gaps with speed on the widths. Last year we were much more a brute strength and pound it through you type team, which we are going to quickly reinvent," Eushka said. "We are composed of a lot of talented on the ball players that can spread the field maintaining possession until we expose the angles and gaps we need to strike."
The goal this year, said Eushka is to "win the League and give 100 percent to every practice, and grow every game towards greatness."
"They believe with their talent and the direction this year these goals are possible and are training like it. They see what I see, which is one of the most pure talent based varsity teams this school has had in a while and it is exciting to be around," he added. "The key for myself, and the staff of Mandie Kramer (JV Coach) and Josh Slaughter (Goal Keeping Coach), is to harness this energy and talent and push through what is a talented league and an extremely difficult non-league schedule of Rochester, Stoney Creek, and Troy Athens."
Leading the charge are the 12 returnees to the team. Team leadership begins with seniors Sam Pastewski, Sam Medici, Hayley Hill, Brittany LaBombard, and Caitlyn Ulinski.
"These players have been through some challenges the last few years and are using that experience to push our team forward quickly," noted Eushka
"Juniors Melissa Gierak and Emily Kargetta actually bring the strength and toughness factor to our team that is needed given most of us are smaller, quicker skilled type players," he continued. "Our returning sophomores Karina Parker and Katrese Moll bring us a lot of energy and desire to score goals, while Christina Medici will be relied on as our anchor on the back line."
New to the varsity roster are Jade Schramm and Mackenzie Eschberger who "bring the speed and goal scoring drive to the widths of the field."
"We have started calling them the gazelles and they will be expected to be just that all year long up top," Eushka added. We (also) have four new seniors and two juniors who all played and led a very successful JV campaign last year. These players are key to our depth and will push the team through the leadership and experiences last year gave them."
The strengths of the team lie in their "quickness, speed, and technical ability on the ball."
The last point is something that will be a focal point that we will be driving towards all year long. Our starting 11 will be one of the best starting groups we have had at Oxford in years," Eushka said. "The desire of the senior class, and really the team as a whole, to grow and bond into a unit is another strength that I need to craft and shape to give them the exact experience they are looking for."
As for the league itself, Eushka said they haven't played a league match yet, but he did spend time during the winter watching each team Oxford plays during their winter games.
"Lake Orion, Berkley and Clarkston, who we tied 0-0 in a scripted scrimmage, look to be the class of the league with Bloomfield, North Farmington and Groves rounding it out," he explained. "But in all reality, for a school and a program that hasn't won a league title since 1996, which is pre-OAA days, everybody we play presents a challenge that we as a program haven't obtained since before most of our team was born, and obtaining that is our singular focal point of record for this season. It should be a fun ride."
As the new coach, Eushka brings a wealth of background experience, according to Athletic Director Mike Watson.
"Energetic, passionate and knowledgeable are just some of the words I would use to describe Rob Euashka," remarked Watson.
Euashka holds a NSCAA National 'C' license and brings sixteen years of head soccer coaching experience from both the club and high school levels. For the past four years, Euashka has coached boys and girls from the U10 to the U18 level within the Michigan Wolves-Hawks East club. Prior to that, Euashka coached in the Ann Arbor Arsenal program and the Rochester Soccer Club. In addition, Euashka served as an Olympic Development Program (ODP) goalkeeper coach from 2000-2005. Euashka also led the Lake Orion High School girl's program in 2001 after serving as an assistant at Grosse Pointe South High School.
He was a four-year starter at the goaltender position at Grosse Pointe South and after graduating in 1997, he attended Madonna University where he played collegiately. Euashka earned an associate degree in business administration and bachelors degrees in both English and History with highest honors from Madonna. He is employed by the US Army at TACOM in Warren, MI and resides in Rochester Hills.
"Since my hiring in November I have learned that the people inside the soccer community are extremely helpful, generous and excited to learn. The coaching community within the high school itself is a great group that works together well to promote the growth of the student body through winning athletics as a team, which has been one of my favorite things about becoming the Women's Soccer coach," Eushka added. "As for the soccer element, we have tough, quick and determined athletes ready to start creating a legacy, and that has been fun to watch so far."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.