Coming off a program first, the St. Clair soccer Lady Bulldogs will look for more success this spring.
One year removed from its first district title and a run to the Class 2 state quarterfinals, St. Clair brings back approximately half its starting roster for the new campaign.
The Lady Bulldogs were 15-8-1 a year ago, 4-1 in the Four Rivers Conference. St. Clair was second in the Four Rivers behind just Union, which went 5-0 in league play and went on to finish fourth in Class 3 for the second year in a row.
St. Clair has 28 players out for the team this spring, led by four key returners in seniors Zoe Gaszak and Gracie Sohn, junior Makayla Johnson and sophomore Kaitlyn Janson.
As a freshman last spring, Janson was second in goal scoring on the team behind only Chloe Merseal, the program’s second leading scorer all-time.
With Merseal now departed, the scoring onus falls primarily on Janson (13 goals last season) and Gaszak (nine goals in 2019).
“(Janson) was 2nd team all-conference as a freshman and will be one of our forwards,” Head Coach Tim Isgrig said. “She came into this season in good shape and is working hard. Zoe is a senior leader for us at forward. She signed to play at East Central College and will be playing forward for us.”
Prior to the start of the season, Gaszak became the first official signing for the newly instated women’s soccer program at East Central.
Johnson is the team’s lead midfielder.
“Makayla has played a huge role for us the last two years and will play center mid for us,” Isgrig said. “She helps control the game and gets a lot done for us.”
Sohn plays in the middle of the defense and also plays a key role on set plays, scoring six goals last spring. Sohn is coming off a winter basketball season that was shortened by a knee injury.
“Gracie is a huge part of what we do,” Isgrig said. “She leads our defense and was second team all-state last year and all-conference.”
In addition to the players coming back from last year’s state quarterfinal run, St. Clair figures to add a pair of freshmen to the varsity in Kennedy Travis and Sammi Nickerson.
“(Travis well play) wherever we need her, probably offense,” Isgrig said. “(Nickerson) probably defense, maybe mid.”
St. Clair is without a returning goalkeeper after the graduation of Courtney Williams. Sophomore Phoebe Arnold takes over in the net.
“Phoebe Arnold is working in goal and getting better every day,” Isgrig said. “We have a number of girls competing to fill Chloe’s spot. Makayla and Kennedy are possibilities. Emma Smith, Kynzi Humphrey, Sammi, and others are competing for spots in the back.”
In addition to facing the returning threat from Union, Isgrig feels Owensville presents a challenge again this year after finishing as the runner-up to the Lady Bulldogs in the district championship game last year.
“They should be really good this year,” Isgrig said of the Dutchgirls. “They won a lot of games last year and return their whole starting lineup.”
Matt Grodie will serve as assistant coach.
Editor’s Note — This was written prior to the COVID-19 stoppage.