MP girls' soccer returns 14, aims for third straight SEC title
With 14 returning letterwinners, this season’s Mt. Pleasant girls’ soccer team has experienced, hard-working athletes covering the whole field, and strong senior leadership that Coach Ed Chabal hopes will help the Panthers net their third straight conference title.
Last year, the Panthers finished 11-9 overall, including a 5-1 Southeast Conference record.
In the postseason, they advanced to substate. In that match, they were short a number of players due to the band trip, and they fell to Pella (16-4).
The Panthers have graduated a pair of midfielders from last year’s team, Alyssah Hoyle and SEC Player of the Year Hannah Le Blanc, but still return plenty of letterwinners.
On defense, the Panthers have a first team all-conference selection in senior Kathryn Chabal and an all-conference honorable mention in senior Linzie Hood.
The defense also brings back four other seniors: Mila Argueta, Nichole Sandoval, Megan Schneider and Shael Styron.
In the net, the Panthers will have last year’s all-conference honorable mention goalkeeper Lauren Hillman, another senior.
Hillman had 174 saves and allowed only 25 goals last season. She and the defense shut out their opponents six times last season, including three matches in a row — a 2-0 win over Mid-Prairie, and then a pair of 1-0 wins over Fairfield and Keokuk.
Another all-conference honoree, Holly Long, a senior, returns at forward for the Panthers.
Long was a first team all-SEC selection and led Mt. Pleasant with 20 total goals last season.
Other letterwinners returning at forward are senior Samantha Phommachack, senior Sarah Van Dorin and junior Erin Watt.
Watt was the team’s second-leading scorer last year with seven goals.
The offense will also get some help this season from junior Megan Myers, a transfer student who moved to Mt. Pleasant from Oregon.
“I’m expecting her to play a significant role in the offense,” Chabal said of the left-footed forward.
Seniors Amber Hainline, Allie Liechty and Madison Pullis return for the Panthers at midfield.
“We have returning experience, great depth, work ethic and seniors who are great role models and leaders,” said Chabal, who is in his third year with the team and has an overall record of 23-15. “I’m very optimistic for this year’s team, as well as for the future of the program. We have good experience in all areas of the field.”
Chabal expects the younger athletes to continue to improve this season as well, as the team works to create a stronger all-around program.
The Panthers begin their season at Centerville on Thursday, April 2.
They will host their first home and conference match on Monday, April 8, against Fairfield at East Lake Park.