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Veteran Lakers primed for another strong season

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Senior Madelyn Edgar (right) battles with Moultonborough's Kelsey Coppinger during action on Homecoming last year. The I-L midfielder will look to run the show in the middle of things for the Lakers this fall. File Photo. (click for larger version)
August 25, 2014
MEREDITH A lot has changed in four years.

For the seniors on the Inter-Lakes High School girls' soccer team, watching the program grow over the course of their four years has been impressive. The Lakers went from a team that couldn't win a game, to a team that won a lot of them. Two straight playoff appearances, including the first home playoff game in program history last fall has I-L in strong position once again to make a charge towards the top of the Division III standings.

There are some changes for the Lakers however. Leading scorer Caitlin Rotonnelli, who tallied 70 goals in just two years and seemed destined to have a chance at breaking all-time state leading scorer Rachel Hill's goal record, transferred to Tilton School for her junior year. I-L did graduate just three players from last year's team that went 12-5 overall, falling to Prospect Mountain in the opening playoff tilt.

There's also a new head coach for the squad this fall, as former Moultonborough Academy boys' soccer coach and Sandwich Parks and Recreation Director Leo Greene will take over the head job with former I-L coach Steve Jordan still staying involved as his assistant.

"I've taken over a few programs at this sort of stage usually what I try to do is find out what the juniors and seniors strengths are and play to them," said Greene, who last coached MA in 2011. "Their time is short, they need me to help them win games today. That's going to be about putting the best athletes on the field as possible. We've got some good players. Every one of those seniors is a good player."

The Lakers have six members of the senior class on the roster, with the bulk of them having played on the varsity squad for multiple years. Madelyn Edgar, Sarah Dunlap, Emelia Pendergast, Charlotte Morrow and Hannah Krueger are all returning seniors, while newcomer Kylie Dickinson looks to figure right into the goalkeeping situation.

"I think this team of girls and myself are coming together at just the right moment," said Greene. "I feel really good about how they're responding. They clearly want it and they're very receptive."

Juniors Kaylee Converse, Daniele Boucher and Kate Hambrook are all on the roster, while a huge sophomore class features a mixture of returning and new players. Kailee Bennett, Margaux Dickinson and Chloe Davis were all on the varsity club to start last fall as freshmen, while Kenzie Giroux (who will see time in goal after playing some last season), Oceana Ferland, Ali Robinson, Katie Gallagher and Brielle Bradley round out the sizable contingent.

Greene also said there will be a crew of freshmen that will be involved in the mix, as the numbers game to determine JV availability was still being sorted out last week.

"I've been coaching a long time so I feel like I'm pretty good at evaluating talent and putting people in the right places," the coach explained. "I like the team a lot. They're funny, bright, they listen, respectful. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't do quite well."

Greene noted that while the loss of Rotonnelli will mean different girls will need to step up offensively, he isn't too worried about relying on one or two individuals.

"Everyone has a chance to score goals in the system we've put in," said Greene. "Their first responsibility is to keep the round thing out of the square thing, but after that, the goal is the other way. Let's go score it.

"Our defensive core is great," he added. "We have girls who are really excited to be playing defense and that's always a nice thing to see."

The road for the Lakers begins on Friday afternoon on the turf in Meredith. The squad will get a revenge crack at Prospect Mountain, the same team that ended their playoff run prematurely last season. After that it's road games at Gilford (Sept. 3) and Hillsboro-Deering (Sept. 10), with the season finale slated for Oct. 23 at Kingswood. I-L will once again play rival Moultonborough Academy during Homecoming festivities, with a home game in Meredith on Sept. 19 and a road game at MA on Sept. 27.

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