Girls hops to continue progress in 2014
The Streetsboro girls soccer team has come a long way in the last several years.
And Rockets' seventh-year head coach Ryan Willard is quite pleased.
Sure, Streetsboro is just 17-80-3 during that time. But at one point, the Rockets' girls soccer team came close to being extinct.
That is certainly not the case now.
"I'm quite proud of where the program has come," Willard said. "The girls soccer team had not won a game in five to six years before I got here."
Last year, Streetsboro finished 4-12-1 overall and 2-7-1 in the Portage Trail Conference County Division. The Rockets lost a 3-0 decision to Crestwood in Division II sectional play.
Streetsboro also lost three players, including two All-County Division players, to graduation.
They are first-team goalkeeper Marra Woods, honorable mention defender Elizabeth Nichols and forward Tasha Gill.
The Rockets' all-time leading scorer, senior forward Alison Targosky, is back. The three-year captain is the school's all-time leader in goals and assists.
Another offensive standout, senior forward Auliah Kendall, who is third on the team in scoring. She is a team captain.
"Auliah is going to give defenses fits with how active she is up front," Willard said.
Other seniors include midfielders Amber Glenn, Tara Crouso, Lauren Swim and Ewelina Siwik; goalkeeper Devon Klein, a team captain; and defender Melissa Wilkinson.
"Amber is probably our best passer and arguably has the highest soccer IQ on the team," Willard said "Tara brings some toughness for us that you need in the middle of the field.
"We missed Lauren last year due to injury. It will be nice to have her back.
"Ewey is a great team leader who brings energy every day.
"Devon is the most flexible player we have. She will certainly protect us well in goal.
"Melissa has been patrolling the middle of our defense for three years now."
Streetsboro's junior class comprises midfielders Alaina Fischer, Annie Fernandez and Lauren Gates; and defenders Taylor Donovan and Hannah Schuller.
"Alaina is more of a forward who plays in the midfield because of the players we currently have up top," Willard said. "When Lauren Swim went down last year, Alaina was called upon to take on a lot of responsibility in the midfield.
"She will be rotating there with Tara and Lauren this year and will also get some experience in the forward role to spell Alison and Auliah.
"Annie and Lauren just joined last year. Annie will help provide the necessary depth in the midfield. Lauren will help provide depth in the midfield as well, but more in the middle where she can utilize her size more.
"Taylor distinguished herself as one of the best defenders in the league last year. She plays more minutes than just about anyone else on the team and just has a knack for getting the ball away from attacking players.
"Hannah is another one who is returning from an injury-plagued season. She'll be in our defensive rotation and add some needed depth back there."
The two sophomores are defender Brianna Saucier and midfielder/goalkeeper Tyler Rickard.
"Bri will most likely start on the outside of the defense, but she has the ability to play in the midfield as well," Willard said.
"Tyler will help in the rotation of our midfield, but she has also been developing as a goalkeeper and will allow us to rotate Devon on the field at times."
The team's assistant coach is Matt MacKeown.
"We have the talent to compete with anyone," Willard said.
The Rockets are scheduled to make their 2014 debut at Crestwood Aug. 21 at 7 p.m.
They are set to entertain Bedford April 23 at 3 p.m. before heading to Peninsula to play Woodridge in a County Division showdown Aug. 26 at 5 p.m.
Boys look to improve
It can only get better, right?
That's how Paul Krzeminski feels about the 2014 version of the Streetsboro boys soccer team.
The Rockets, who have struggled in recent years, finished 0-14-2 in 2013, including an 0-12 mark in the Portage Trail Conference County Division.
Krzeminski, who enters his fifth year with the team, believes things will be different this year.
"This is a year of optimism," he said. "This is a different side I have this year. They are different because they are the most collectively talented group of boys I have coached here.
"We have seniors who want to make names for themselves. They want to go out with a bang. I have a wonderful sophomore class.
Streetsboro lost four players to graduation. They are stopper Reggie Dublin, midfielder Casey Brace, defender Brandon Gibson and midfielder Grezgorz Siwik.
The returning seniors are Spencer Deevers (midfielder); Daman Singh (forward); Nate Puster (midfielder); Traig Taylor (midfielder/defender); Nick Wilson (goalkeeper); and Devon Peak (forward).
The lone returning junior is forward Abdullah Alghamdi.
Returning sophomores include defender Rayshawn Dublin; midfielders Jacob Fifik, Nick Targosky and Nawaf Alghamdi and sweeper Ryan Wilkinson.
First-year varsity players include senior Ethan Nichols, junior Casey Bacon, sophomore Justin Zielinski and freshmen Kaelin Torrence, Hudson Reuter, Nathan Fabernick and Benny Shaeffer.
Krzeminski's assistant is second-year coach Christine Pelligrino, a former goalkeeper at Kent State University.
Krzeminski said Woodridge is the team to beat in the County Division. He also feels James A. Garfield will be strong.
"All games will bode a challenge for us simply because we know what we want to do," Krzeminski said. "That is simply to change the face of boys soccer here in town. We aim to set a precedence moving forward."
The Rockets are scheduled to make their 2014 debut at Crestwood in a PTC showdown Aug. 21. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Streetsboro is scheduled to host Bedford Aug. 23 before heading to Peninsula to play County Division rival Woodridge Aug. 26.