SPRINGVILLE — The last three seasons have been a steady climb, for the Springville girl’s soccer program. During each of the past three years, the girls have increased their number of wins from one season to the next. The girls have high expectations this year, after going 14 -5 last year, according to senior captain Alena Woodarek.
“We expect to go way beyond 14 – 5,” she said.
First-year coach Shawn Bullard will take over for Eric Holler, who coached the girls to the Section VI semifinals in 2012. Bullard most recently coached the boys varsity team, two years ago.
“Holler did a great job last year, with these girls,” Bullard said. “They lost a couple key pieces, but the first week has gone by pretty good. [I’ve] been evaluating their technical abilities and their tactical skills. We had to fill a couple key spots, goalie being one of them. This year, it has to be sectional champs or bust.”
Headlining the returning players are Alena and Tia Woodarek. The twin sisters are entering their final leg of a five-year varsity career. Woodarek was an All-WNY first team selection a year ago and Alena Woodarek was a second team honoree. Both seniors have 74 career goals and need 26 goals to reach 100 goals for their high school careers.
“This year is a lot different,” said Tia Woodarek about the upcoming season.
“We have a new coach and a lot of new players. We graduated a lot of great players. It’s going to be a lot different and we expect nothing but the best out of these girls and to work hard. We’re going to take it all away, this year.”
The Woodareks both said that they will not be thinking about their 100-goal chase. They just want to focus on winning and having fun.
Senior Dakota Nesselbush also returns for the Lady Griffs. Nesselbush was Springville’s third leading scorer, in 2012. The four-year starter is going to be an integral part to Springville’s success, according to Bullard.
“Dakota is going to be our architect; she kind of drives the engine,” Bullard said, about the senior center midfielder. “She’s the one who understands the play. She’s the engine, she makes things go. Dakota is going to be one of our key deliverers to Tia and Alena.”
Nesselbush has led Springville in assists for in two of the last three years. Dakota is also a captain and will be playing primarily center midfield.
Those three seniors will be joined by fellow senior Shea Schelble, to captain the team. Schelbe will be looked upon as one of Springville’s key defenders, according to Bullard. Schelble is a three-year varsity member and has the experience to lead the Lady Griffs in the back.
“I think, as a captain, I have a very strong position to direct my team,” Nesselbush explained, “From the center of the field, it really helps to see the entire field. It also helps to have Shea in the back and Tia and Alena in the front. That way, we have control of the entire field.”
“What’s nice about Shea is that experience she brings to the table,” added Bullard, about his leader on the back-end.
“Last year, she played some quality minutes. Not only on defense, but she was also playing the middle of the field, a little bit. That experience factor she brings to that back line should help settle down our newcomers [and] our sophomores who moved up. The experience factor can’t be understated; it’s huge.”
The Lady Griffs were co-champions, a season ago. That was the first time in 16 years that they had shared a piece of the division title. Behind some of the success were seven seniors that will need to be replaced, this year.
Nicole Paler moves up from junior varsity and will play some serious minutes, according to Bullard. Heaven Rollek will transition from varsity swimming to varsity soccer, this year. She has played varsity basketball since her freshman year, and played in varsity softball, last spring. The junior will step in as Springville’s goalie.
“She’s a girl we took with no experience. She has that natural athletic ability and we’re plugging her in at net,” Bullard said, about Rollek. “She has that ability to go side-to-side, up and down and go through the air. So, having her in net is going to be huge.”
Sophomore Brittney Luther and senior Kate Darling return on defense and will be big contributors, on the back end. Senior Ashley Blidy is a three-year varsity member playing defense and some forward. Senior Leah Waldman was the team’s fourth leading scorer last year and will be playing defense, this year.
Springville started against Amherst on Sept. 4.