By Craig Marx, Editor
Antigo girls soccer features a young squad heading into the 2017 spring season. Returning five players, including just two seniors, the experience level will be a test for a Robin team that is coming off one of its better seasons in recent history.
The Lady Robins finished up 2-15-3 last season, exiting as a No. 8 in the first round of the WIAA Playoffs following a loss to top-seeded Pulaski.
“I think it’s one of the best seasons they’ve had in a long while,” head coach Bethany Bauknecht said.
Bauknecht, along with Coach Sara Schroepfer, are both former Antigo soccer players from when the program was still in its infancy. Bauknecht has been coaching the varsity level of the program for the past five seasons, while Schroepfer has been involved in coaching youth soccer for 14 years.
Molly Brown and Sethany Sass mark the senior contingent of the Lady Robins team this spring as the new generation of soccer players take to the field with a number of underclassmen set to make their first varsity starts. Numbers have tapered slightly since last season, with 15 total varsity players listed for this upcoming year as opposed to 27 Lady Robins in 2016.
“We have a few juniors that have been out for a while with the program, but it is also a new generation of players we have incoming,” Bauknecht noted about the youth of the team.
Emma Brown has been named the starting goalkeeper for the new year, taking over for Annette Olsen, who saw the majority of playing time in net for the Robins last season.
With numbers down and the level of competition growing in surrounding programs, the Great Northern Conference has allowed teams the benefit of playing more competitive teams just once a season (much like hockey did this past winter in the GNC). Perennial contenders Mosinee, Rhinelander, and Ashland look to be the benchmark teams heading into 2017, and after contacting these programs to enact the one-game clause, only the Oredockers have accepted thus far.
Soccer is quite possibly the ultimate endurance sport, next to distance running, and youth involvement in such a demanding activity is often times difficult to instill. The Lady Robins may have a difficult schedule and slightly diminished roster numbers, but the coaches have motivated their young ladies to enjoy what they do on the pitch.
“It is difficult when you are not always winning,” Coach Bauknecht said. “You have to really enjoy playing as a team at that point. This is a great group of girls and they mean so much to us.”
2017 AHS Girls Soccer Schedule
Tuesday, April 4 – vs. Wausau East – Antigo High School (4:30 PM)
Thursday, April 6 – vs. Newman Catholic – Antigo High School (5 PM)
Tuesday, April 11 – at Ashland – Ashland High School (5 PM)
Thursday, April 13 – at Lakeland – Lakeland Union High School (7 PM)
Tuesday, April 18 – vs. Medford – Antigo High School (5 PM)
Thursday, April 20 – at Northland Pines – Northland Pines High School (5 PM)
Tuesday, April 25 – vs. Mosinee – Antigo High School (5 PM)
Thursday, April 27 – at Rhinelander – Rhinelander High School (7 PM)
Tuesday, May 2 – at Newman Catholic – Newman Catholic High School (5 PM)
Thursday, May 4 – vs. Ashland – Antigo High School (5 PM)
Tuesday, May 9 – vs. Lakeland – Antigo High School (5 PM)
Thursday, May 11 – at Medford – Stetsonville Elementary School (5 PM)
Tuesday, May 16 – vs. Northland Pines – Antigo High School (5 PM)
Thursday, May 18 – at Mosinee – Mosinee High School (5 PM)
Thursday, May 25 – vs. Rhinelander – Antigo High School (5 PM)