Thursday, August 29, 2013
MILFORD – A changing roster is inevitable in high school sports, but perhaps no team has undergone as great a change as the Milford High School girls soccer team will experience this season.
The Spartans are the defending Division II champions, and while they didn’t lose a lot, they did lose some of the best players to come through the program in a while. And not only will Milford look for ways to replace Morgan Andrews, Dina Pitsas, Kendra Bonczar and Brittney White, it will also have a new coach patrolling the sideline, as John Vlachos stepped down and Russ Matthews takes his place.
But Matthews isn’t too worried about how the Spartans will regroup for the 2013 season.
“Those are people that you can’t really replace,” he said. “All we can hope for is that the girls picked up on some of their intensity and their team work and bring that with them this year. I’m excited.”
While some might look at Milford’s roster and wonder what the future holds, Matthews feels pretty confident that there’s enough there for the Spartans to make some noise in the division again this year.
“I think the girls are willing to push themselves and push each other,” he said. “I heard a lot last year that the state championship was won by one person, and I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think one person can possibly cover the entire field. These girls have all been playing with each other for years. It shows.”
Milford returns half its defense and still has a handful of players up front – Morgan Grill, Riley Bailey, Morgan Stephens – who were a part of last year’s team and provided some scoring.
Also back is goalie Casey Phelps, who as a sophomore played well down the stretch a year ago.
“She is quick on her feet, she has quick hands,” Matthews. “I know she’s been going to goalie camps and playing in the spring and throughout the offseason. She’s just going to get stronger and better.”
As for Matthews, who coached at the middle school in Milford, it will be a bit of a learning experience.
“This is a bigger jump,” he said. “I look forward to the challenge. We’ve got good assistant coaches. I think we have a good foundation.”