Lady Lions will try to build on last year's historic success
Mike Finnerty's team returns the meat of its 2012 NFL-champion roster.
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
It might be easier to simply sit back and gloat about the first Niagara Frontier League girls soccer championship in school history a year ago.
Or you can chose the more difficult fork in the road and try to build on it.
The Lady Lions’ 13-0-1 league campaign will be tough to top, admits head coach Mike Finnerty, but that’s the goal his team is setting as they head next week into the 2013 season.
It was a tremendous year and what a tremendous group of girls under a studious, determined head coach.
Lockport opens its NFL slate at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Niagara-Wheatfield. Their home opener is 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, against Nichols at the 2013 Lockport Boosters Soccer Tournament, at LHS.
“Our goal is to build on the success of last season,” Finnerty said. “We look to be competitive every game and barring injuries, we hope to again compete for the NFL championship.”
The Lady Lions advanced as far as the Section VI semifinals last fall when they lost, 2-1, in a double overtime shootout thriller to Williamsville North.
Among the blue and gold’s key losses to graduation are their leading goal scorer Lauren Wager, along with Emma Yates, Kerri Wertman and Carly Shank.
The good news is there are several veteran returners to the lineup, a list that includes seniors Jill Golding, Rachel Herbst, Kasey Johnston, Allison Sakowski and Kennedy Smith, junior keeper Jayme Wadosky and super sophomore Gretta Dry.
Finnerty said while Wager led the Lady Lions in goals a year ago, Golding, a midfielder, led the team in points — combined goals and assists. Golding and the lone striker Dry will lead the offense, while at midfield, LHS will be led by Smith. Finnerty said he’s not yet sure who will be starting at the outside mid positions.
“We’re a possession-style team,” Finnerty said. “We’ll be looking for aggressive, quick attacks.”
Once again, defense will be the heart of the Lady Lions. Last year, the team only allowed seven league goals and 11 throughout the whole season.
Sakowski and Herbst will anchor the defense, along with senior Kasey Johnston and junior Kim Hamilton, with the veteran Wadosky in goal.
“Kim Hamilton is very strong. She’s a returning starter as a sophomore from a year ago,” he said.
Among the toughest teams challenging the defending NFL-champion Lady Lions this fall will be Niagara-Wheatfield and Grand Island.