Jeeps hope to play to potential

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Makenzie Buchta is a freshman who could find her way into the lineup for Northeast Dubois girls soccer this season. 


DUBOIS — The year 2020 provided a lot of setbacks to the Northeast Dubois girls soccer team, who went 4-7-2 and dealt with injuries and quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, however, Jeeps coach Clive Williams is more optimistic about the 2021 group.

“They’re looking pretty good because we’ve had more time with them this year,” Williams said. “Last year, it was a couple of weeks — two or three weeks, and then not very much time at all compared to what we have so far.”

Williams expects his players to be “a lot” better on the field this year — and he had good things to say about the group of freshmen on the team this year: Makenzie Buchta, Emma Johnson, Ava Helming, Maddie Burgan, Grayce Carr and Melinda Nordoff.

He anticipates Buchta, Johnson and Helming could work their way into the lineup, while Burgan has been getting a lot of work in as a goalkeeper.

“I think all of them are actually listening, and thinking about things very quickly — and implementing it as well in practice,” he said.

The Jeeps graduated seven seniors last year, but Williams feels has a lot of scoring options heading into 2021 — such as seniors Atalie Atkins and Lexi Freyberger, juniors Aubrey Hostetter and Elizabeth Schepers.

“Do you want me to go on?” he asked with a chuckle.

He’s also expecting some goals from sophomore Landyn Rasche, and noted that fellow sophomore Kelli Merkel did some scoring for the team last year, too. Buchta and Johnson could chip in as goal scorers, too, depending on the situation.

Atkins and Freyberger are two of the five seniors the Jeeps will have on their roster this year, along with Emma Tretter, Mackinzie Belk and Maggie Poppe. Williams lauded the leadership his senior group is showing this summer.

“They’re taking control of the team in terms of handling things when they’re here, and they’re encouraging the team and push the players,” Williams said.

He lauded how much more balanced the lineup is going to be this year, since he has a lot of players who can play two or three different positions. Williams noted that the forward and midfield spots are both being hotly contested this year. He mentioned Freyberger, Belk, Hostetter, Schepers, Rasche, sophomore Halle Blackgrave as candidates for those spots.

The defender spots will have some competition, but he touted the experience that Merkel got last year. Williams included Tretter in the mix, and sophomore Brooklyn Keifer could get looks there this season, too.

Williams loves how his players are willing to learn and that they’re wanting to do well this year. He saw some potential at the end of last year, and lauded them for wanting to work hard this year.

He does have concerns going into the year, such as communication between his players, staying focused and injuries.

The Jeeps are scheduled to open Aug. 16 at Evansville Day. Williams thinks the Jeeps can go very far this season, but he’s looking to them to play to their potential.

“That’s what this is about — playing to your potential, listening and executing on the field,” he said.

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