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Lakeland girls’ soccer showed skill and promise

July 09, 2019 by Brett LaBore

For the Lakeland girls’ soccer team, there was leadership and there was youth. Both of these factors played into their season this spring.

The Thunderbirds finished the year 9-9-1 overall, 3-6-1 in conference. They finished fourth in their side of the conference.

In conference, they scored on 25 goals and allowed 28 for a pretty balanced effort. What made it even more crazy was the amount of goalkeepers that they used.

The Thunderbirds ended up using five different keepers on the year. Clair Kamisnki got the most starts and went 2-2 with 31 saves.

Tessa Tormoen went 0-1 with 21 saves. Additionally, both Kiah Gauthier and Erika Rein played 90 minutes in goal. Gauthier won her start with a total of three saves and Rein tied her start recording six saves.

In regional play, Grace Dorsey got some action in the goal recording a couple of saves. Most of these goalies had very little training at the position, but it still showed positives for the team.

“Changing goalies helped build us as a team with all players needing to step up, communicate more and work extra hard to prevent goals from being scored,” said coach Stephanie Hartzheim. “The defense had to make sure they were supporting the keeper by following all balls to the back line.”

That defense included three underclassmen. Jenna Whitman, KT Tharman and Kristyn Dallman were all underclassmen and were the main starters for the season. Senior Elaina Irmick was the other defender who provided a huge boost.

“We are going to be working with goalies and defense off season to train some new ones for next year during our contact days,” Hartzheim said. “We are excited to see what the young group of individuals can do in next year’s season.”

When the defense was doing their thing, it was the offense that was putting goals in the back of the net. 

Two captains on the team, senior Erika Intrepidi and junior Abby Parris, were important for jump-starting the offense and providing leadership for the girls. 

Intrepidi finished the year with two goals and two assists in conference play. She was often seen running down the sidelines always crossing the ball back into the middle of the field to score a goal. 

“We will miss Erika's high energy on the field, along with her hardworking skills she brought to all the games,” Hartzheim said.

Parris was a speedster who pushed the ball up the field. When it got to her feet she was dangerous and could score from anywhere, ending the year with four goals and one assist.

“Erika and Abby did a great job leading the team to get them ready before games and help run practices,” Hartzheim said. “It was important to have leaders that other players look up to.”

Both Parris and Intrepidi were named honorable mention all-conference. 

In addition to this great leadership, there were three freshman who brought it night in and night out. With Erika set to graduate, it is a passing-of-the-torch moment as the Thunderbirds look to the future.

Leah Wolfe, Sophia Myshchyshyn and Olivia Melka were all freshmen this year who played a big part in Lakeland’s success.

Wolfe was named honorable mention all-conference and scored two goals with one assist in conference. She was a distributor in the middle of the field.

Melka set up the most goals for the Thunderbirds. She led the team with four assists, ranking her tied for seventh in conference. She also put in four goals and was tied for the team lead with 12 points. She ended the season second team all-conference.

Myshchyshyn was the deadly striker for the team. She led the Thunderbirds with six goals and tied for the team lead with 12 points. Her best performance came on Tuesday, May 7 when she scored four goals against Antigo. She was named first team all-conference as well.

“These three brought a lot of skill and goals to the team this year. I am excited to see how they grow over the year,” Hartzheim said. “If they can score a total of 12 goals in the conference combined, they will be an even bigger threat next year as they continue to work all summer and winter on their skills.”

One of their best games of the year came in the regional final against Mosinee, when the Thunderbirds won 4-1. They used two first-half goals by Melka helped to spark the team to victory.

“Once we got the first goal I knew we could score a few more,” Hartzheim said.

The regional final was one of their best games all season. But the highlight of the season came when they scored against the elite team of the conference on Thursday, May 23.

“The highlight was scoring the only goal on Ashland for all conference games,” Hartzheim said.

That’s right. Ashland only gave up one goal in conference play. And that one goal was scored by Myshchyshyn on a penalty kick.

In a year that showed both senior leadership and young talent, the Lakeland girl’s soccer team has a future full of excitement. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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