on April 04, 2018 9:16 PM, updated April 05, 2018 4:03 PM
CUTLERVILLE – Plenty of depth, a large junior class, and some key seniors have the South Christian girls soccer team in position to make another run at the OK Gold Conference title this spring.
Last season, the Sailors shared the conference title with Middleville and finished with a 14-3-2 overall record. Several key players have moved on from last year’s team, including captain Chloe Smith and two-year starting goalie Mikayla Johnson.
This year, South Christian is building around a quartet of senior veterans. Captains Alaina Koster (defense), Mackenzie Selvius (midfielder), Alyssa Visser (forward), and student assistant Ellie Van Zee return to provide the team with plenty of leadership and skill.
“We will be on the younger side, but won’t be without experience and excellent leadership,” said South Christian coach Brian Broekhuizen. “Our remarkable and enthusiastic junior class returns eight players with significant varsity experience.”
South Christian’s junior class returns Caitlin Bergsma, Emma Pothoven, Sydney Cleary, Jozlyn VanTol, Cassidy Broekhuizen, Lacie DenHartigh, Savannah Bosselaar, and Morgan Rottman.
Sophomore Emma DeVries also returns to the varsity squad.
Newcomers who provide quality depth include juniors Maddie Leenstra, Pam Osterhaven, Alayna Spiering, Alexa Veldhuizen, and goalie Annika Zuverink. Cierra Gabrielse also returns, after being brought up to the varsity during last year’s state tournament.
Defense will be a strong point this season. Koster, who earned third-team all-state honors last season, anchors the defense, along with Rottman and Cleary.
Zuverink is new in goal, but is a well-trained keeper groomed to take over the starting duties.
Selvius, last year’s leading scorer, is a returning first-team all-state player who leads the offensive charge, along with VanTol, Broekhuizen, and Bergsma.
“We have good speed, good soccer IQ, and terrifically positive attitudes,” Broekhuizen said. “Culture is everything, and I suspect that this will be an enjoyable extension of last year’s cohesive mindset.”
With Middleville, East Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids Christian in the league, staying on top of their game is a big key for the Sailors.
“Our keys will be a deep hunger to grow every day,” Broekhuizen said. “A high level of fitness, perpetual communication, and taking care of the critical details are also key.”