on April 06, 2017
COOPERSVILLE – The Coopersville girls soccer team will be taking aim at its fifth straight conference championship this season.
Pat Harig, with 21 years as coach, is confident the team is prepared for the challenge.
But Harig still has fond memories of the 2016 season.
“The season was a testimony to the girls’ resolve, as we battled the entire season to grind out another championship, which was extremely difficult,” Harig said. “The team felt much pressure, even though most of that pressure was placed on them by themselves, as they were trying to match what the previous three teams had accomplished.”
There are key challenges for the 2017 team.
“We graduated 10 players from last year’s team, and each one brought something special to the team,” Harig said. “While they will all be missed, they had their four years, and now it’s time for the next group to step up and take their turn.
“Haley Abbas played all four of her seasons on the varsity team, she started every game in defense, and won four league championships doing it. No one at Coopersville High School has ever done that on the soccer field before. She is definitely a trailblazer.”
But the Broncos coach likes the 2017 team’s potential.
“This year’s team will look somewhat different compared to teams we’ve had in the past,” Harig said. “While we have a good mix of seniors and juniors, we will also include seven sophomores and one freshman that will make up our varsity team.”
Senior Kira Budzynski returns for her fourth season on the varsity team, and senior Brooklynn Hardy also is back in her three-plus seasons on varsity.
“We need them to lead our team both on and off the field,” Harig said. “Our seven sophomores and one freshman will compete immediately for time on the field and all will be contributing to our success. There’s much success that remains to be seen.”
Harig likes the team’s work ethic.
“In three weeks, we really only had to get after them once,” Harig said. “They all love the game, and they all work really hard at getting on the same page. They want to be successful, and they want to win.
“The sky is the limit. We have talent, we have for the past four seasons. Previous teams have worked together to display their talent in a successful fashion. I fully expect this team to do the same. I think that continually working on our weaknesses will be the key to our success.”
Winning another league title won’t be easy.
“We have two new teams in Spring Lake and Catholic Central that will definitely create a tougher league, but the rest of the league plays well also, so time will tell,” Harig said. “Anyone can win on any night. You have to go out and earn it.”