WEBSTER CITY - The cupboards aren't completely bare. In fact, there are plenty of veterans back in the fold as the Webster City girls' soccer team gets set to kick off the 2012 season.
There's just one problem: Somehow, the Lynx must figure out a way to replace the most prolific goal scorer in the history of the program.
And it won't be easy.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS junior Rachel Kauffman (right) works for control of the ball against Fort Dodge last season. She has five career goals, the most of any returning player on the Lynx roster.
Coming off a 3-7 season that ended in the Class 1A regional opening round last spring, WCHS will open its season tonight against Fort Dodge at Dodger Stadium, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Lynx will try to move on without the services of Kelsey Brown, who scored 44 goals during her four years in uniform. Junior striker Rachel Kauffman will be the player that head coach Greg Bock turns to for offensive leadership, but he knows Brown - a 2011 graduate - was something special.
"We're going to miss Kelsey tremendously, that's for sure," Bock said. "She was our leader for several years, so we're going to have to do some rebuilding here, but I think we've got a lot of talent."
Kauffman has scored five career goals. She'll be flanked up front by fellow junior Rachel Hoffman, while classmates Brenna Paukert, Ashley Meyers and Cassidy Peck will roam the midfield.
Bock has high hopes for his gals in the middle, and he puts freshman Sarah Paukert in the mix as well as a player with the potential to have a breakout season.
"We're going to have to use our junior talent in the midfield and up front," he said. "We've got some shooters from long range with our midfielders, so our offense is going to be more oriented towards some long shots."
Multiple-year starter Kolby Stanley, a senior, will direct the Lynx back line. And the last line of defense in net will be turned over to first-year starting goalkeeper Samantha Garcia, a junior.
"We'll depend a lot on Kolby because she's been a standout defensive player for us for three years. She'll be our captain in the back," Bock said. "And I'm real excited to have Samantha back in goal. I think we're going to be pretty strong back there."
Bock is concerned with his team's depth. With only 20 players on the roster, half of which is comprised of freshmen, he understands that his players will have to be in peak condition to withstand the rigorous matches.
"Half of the roster is freshmen, so we're very young, and we won't have a (junior varsity) team this year just because of our numbers," he said. "But I think we have an exciting season in front of us."