ROCHELLE — The weather finally opened up Thursday afternoon for the Lady Hubs soccer team, and first-year head coach Chris Blevins was more than happy to take advantage of the favorable conditions.
The girls worked through several on-field drills during the team’s first outdoor practice of the season, and Blevins, who led the junior varsity boys team in the fall and was an assistant for the girls team last season, is eager for his opportunity to take the reigns of the girls program.
“It’s a good feeling and I’m looking forward to getting the girls out here and having some space to get some more touches on the field,” Blevins said. “It’s going to be a good season… I think we’re going to be looking at possibly changing our system, and getting our numbers up will be another important thing for us.”
While Blevins said his roster will contain girls with several different skills levels, there are a few familiar faces returning to the squad including senior midfielder Celeste Almaraz. Senior sisters Ashley and Abby Kerns are also back with the team.
“I feel like we’re going to have a good season, and even if it doesn’t turn out how we want it to we’re still going to have fun,” Ashley said. “Our group is very positive… I think we’re mostly a defensive-minded team. I just want everyone to stay positive even when we’re having a bad day.”
Junior Rhylie Erdman is another player Blevins said has continued to improve her game. While the new head coach didn’t play any specific expectations on the team as the season gets started, he said he expects the girls to sharpen up their fundamentals moving forward.
“I’m not sure how many wins we’re going to have, but as long as we’re improving every game and we set our goals… It will be an exciting season,” Blevins said. “I feel like we’re going to have some good forwards. We have some talent there as far as putting the ball where we need it to go… We have some depth at the keeper position so that’s another thing we’re excited about.”
The Lady Hubs will kick off the 2016-17 season next Wednesday against the Oregon Lady Hawks on the road. The girls will return to Rochelle Township High School on Thursday for their first home game of the season against Mendota.