The dynamic scoring duo will return to the pitch this season for the St. Clair soccer Lady Bulldogs.
Senior midfielder Anna Merseal and junior forward Amanda Baumruk combined for 49 goals last season, helping the Lady Bulldogs earn a 16-9-1 record. They will look to continue to lead the Lady Bulldogs in 2017.
Merseal was a first-team all-state selection and has been a four-year starter for St. Clair. In 2016, she scored 25 goals and had 14 assists, giving her 58 goals and 36 assists in her career. She will try to continue have individual and team success in 2017.
“She is the leader of our team,” said St. Clair Head Coach Tim Isgrig. “Anna had a great junior season but really worked hard to improve herself for her senior year.”
Baumruk followed up on a strong freshman season in 2015 with an even better 2016. Baumruk scored 24 goals to go along with 12 assists last year.
“Amanda had a great sophomore season with 24 goals and 12 assists and is a three-year varsity starter,” Isgrig said. “She’s going to play a big role on our team this season.”
While Merseal and Baumruk are the marquee names returning for the Lady Bulldogs, four other full-time starters are back for St. Clair.
Sophomore midfielder Chloe Merseal was a standout in her first season, scoring eight goals and leading St. Clair in assists with 15.
“She’s worked really hard in the offseason in both the weight room and her conditioning and I look for her to improve and be a big part of our offense this year,” Isgrig said.
Junior Chevelle Ammerman was stout defensively last year and scored a goal with one assist.
“Chevelle gives us intensity and effort every night and she’s going to be one of the leaders of our defense,” Isgrig said.
Sophomore defender/midfielder Haley Buscher scored one goal last season, and Isgrig is expecting bigger things from her in 2017.
“Even as a sophomore, I look for Haley to be one of the leaders of our team,” he said. “She is very versatile and will play multiple positions this year. She’s going to help us in the middle of the field by winning the ball and help us possess it.”
Junior Leah Hill also had a strong 2016 season, scoring six goals with nine assists.
Piper Jones, Adrianna Collins and Gabi Lindsey saw significant action last year.
Jones scored two goals with two assists while Lindsey had one assist.
The biggest spot the Lady Bulldogs need to fill is in net. After Katelyn Guehne manned the net for two years, St. Clair is seeking her replacement.
“Katelyn Guehne played every minute in goalie the last two years,” Isgrig said. “Kenzie Schmidtke and Courtney Williams are competing for her spot. Both have a lot of potential and are improving every day.”
Isgrig highlighted a pair of newcomers — a senior and a freshman — who could contribute this season.
Senior Kelsey Wachter, who has starred in basketball, volleyball and track and field at St. Clair, will try her hand on the pitch.
“Kelsey brings a competitiveness and leadership to our team,” Isgrig said. “She is picking things up quickly and is going to help us out this season. She has a very good work ethic and is going to add some toughness to our team.”
Freshman Sommer Schneider is also expected to make an impact.
“Sommer is going to see a lot of minutes as a freshman this season,” Isgrig said. “She’s working real hard at practice and will bring quickness and skill to our team.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ main goal is to continue to progress throughout the season.
“(We want to) be playing our best soccer at the end of the season and to get better every day,” Isgrig said. “We understand the spring season is a grind with a lot of games in a short amount of time, and we have to improve every day through practice, games, film, etc.”
Even with all of the talent returning for the Lady Bulldogs, Isgrig expects the Four Rivers Conference to run through Union.
“I feel that our whole conference is going to be competitive and much improved from the past,” Isgrig said. “Union should be the team to beat, they have a lot of club players and Matt does a really good job with them. Pacific and Sullivan will be both be really tough as well.”
The Lady Bulldogs have 28 players on their two teams.
Isgrig will be assisted by Ted Brinker.
St. Clair begins the season at home against Owensville Friday at 5 p.m.