CONYERS - As the 2009 season approaches, the Rockdale girls soccer team has a plethora of talent and experience returning to the field.
And it's a good thing, too, considering the Lady Bulldogs have an overwhelming schedule.
"Our schedule will be a grueling one. We have scheduled some tough teams and have challenged ourselves to play at the highest level," Rockdale coach Alf Holst said. "I am not concerned about who we play, I am more concerned about how we play. If we go out there and play the game, and put it all out on the pitch, it will really not matter who we play. If we sit around and worry about the other teams, then we will play scared and weak.
"If we train and play the way we train, then we can take on any team. We accept all the challenges in our schedule, from playing ranked teams to playing 11 away games."
Returning for the Lady Bulldogs are senior team captain Sarah Kustick and seniors Rebecca Carlin and Katie Koch. Junior Nicole Young, who also returns, will play a significant role.
Other contributing players include junior co-captain Lindsay Geise, juniors Emily Boyer and Lauren Coursey and sophomores Tiffany Morris and Ashley Peterson.
"Our team has a lot of experience," Holst said. "The majority of our team is made up of juniors and seniors. We do have some young developing talent in the 10th and ninth grade."
According to Holst, his squad's biggest strength is its heart.
As far as weaknesses are concerned?
"Our weaknesses. ... I have not seen any weaknesses," he said.
Without any signs of weaknesses, this allows the Lady Bulldogs to focus on team chemistry on and off the field.
"(We) want to train for confidence with the ball and without the ball," Holst said. "We focus mostly on team chemistry, confidence and ball movement. The team needs to unite to become one force against another team. Only by playing together will we win our matches.
"Our players need to be confident in their skill and ability so that they may make the right decisions during a match. We work on ball movement to find the opportune time to take advantage of the other team."
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: At A Glance
· Team: Rockdale girls soccer
· Coach: Alf Holst (first season)
· Last year's record: 4-11-0
· First game: Monday vs. Eagle's Landing, 5:30 p.m.