Ozaukee girls have plenty of talent, experience as they go after another CLC crown
After guiding a young team to a share of the Central Lakeshore Conference title last year, Ozaukee girls’ soccer coach Eric Liebergen has plenty of reasons to feel good about this season.
But he’s also a realist who knows the Warriors will face a tough challenge defending their crown.
“The Central Lakeshore seems to have grown into a very respectable conference in recent years, from top to bottom,” Liebergen said.
“We are anticipating a very competitive race for the conference title. Any one of five schools should be in the mix by the end of the season.”
On its way to a share of the CLC top spot with Oostburg last year, Ozaukee posted a 10-3-1 league mark and finished 11-4-4 overall.
Liebergen said he expected the defending co-champions to be joined in this spring’s title chase by Howards Grove, Cedar Grove-Belgium and Sheboygan Lutheran.
The Warriors will be led by nine letterwinnners, including junior midfielder Katie Bares, who earned all-league first-team honors last year.
Ozaukee’s other top returning players include seniors Mari Scalone, Amanda Lallensack, Brooke Schueller, Marissa Thill and Linnea Shamir; juniors Micaela Burns and Erika Karrels; and sophomores Kaylee Klopp and Lizzie Janke.
Scalone and Burns received honorable mention as all-conference defenders.
Lallensack and Klopp are defenders, and Karrels is a goalkeeper. Schueller and Janke are forwards.
Liebergen, who enters his 13th year as the Ozaukee girls’ coach, is also counting on several other players to vie for starting varsity positions. Among them are seniors Larissa Oliviera and Jacqueline Eckert; sophomores Lizzie Janke, Liz Weidert, Ashley Upson, Natalie Bares, Devin Fowler, Ashley Preisler and Natalie Clark; and freshmen Emma Yanke and Bridget Hoffmann.
“Our roster has several additions of versatile players to add to the depth of our team,” Liebergen said.
One area in which the Warriors have to improve is shoring up its back-line defense.
“We gave up more goals on free kicks and corners than what we scored last year,” he said. “It will be paramount to fix this.”
Liebergen will again share coaching duties with assistant Alex Schroeder, who has been on the Warriors’ staff since 2005.
This week, Ozaukee opened the season against Living Word Lutheran on Tuesday. The Warriors will continue nonconference play with a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday at West Bend West.
Image Information: MIDFIELDER KATIE BARES is among the top returning players for the Ozaukee girls’ soccer team this season. Press file photo