Hibbing Daily Tribune
HIBBING — With only three seniors, the Hibbing/Chisholm High School girls soccer team will be relying on a lot of underclassmen during the 2019 season.
That’s alright with Bluejacket coach Brittney Lindstrom because she likes the makeup of this team.
It’ll be up to those three seniors to grab the reins and lead this team as the new season begins today with a 2 p.m., contest against Osseo at Vic Power Field.
Gracie Gabardi, Olivia Lund and Natalie Hertling, who won’t join the team until September, have to provide a lot of leadership to get this team through the season.
“These girls have stepped up a lot since last year, especially Natalie,” Lindstrom said. “It’ll be nice for them to take charge. They have a good relationship with their peers holding them accountable as well.
“That leadership will be good, especially since we have a younger team. When we’re working with different formations, it’ll be nice to have them coach the younger kids and tell them where to go on the field.”
The junior class, consisting of Ashely Ciochetto, Ayva Burkes, Emma Mekkes, Kirsten Bushnell, Mia Johnson, Naomi Murden, Nora Petrich and Lexi Huismann, are veterans as well, and they should provide some leadership as well.
“A lot of them are great leaders, natural leaders, especially Ayva and Mia,” Lindstrom said. “They’re hard workers. They set a good example and give it their all. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.
“They take direction well. It’s nice looking into next season knowing I have those leaders as well.”
Lindstrom lives by
the motto that practice doesn’t make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect, so it will be up to this team to work hard every day to improve.
“A lot of it is going to be confidence,” Lindstrom said. “I have a lot of girls with talent, but we need to focus on putting in the work, giving 100-percent in practice and the games. We have the talent.
“It’s a matter of the younger ones having the discipline, too. It’s refreshing to see them building their confidence and finding their niches as to who works well together.”
As for goal production, Burkes is a proven goal scorer, but it will take more than her to light the scoreboard.
“I’m counting on Ayva to get some goals this year,” Lindstrom said. “She has the speed to do it. I’ve talked to her about keeping the ball down. She can score from far out, and still use her speed for breakaways.
“Olivia could be a good goal scorer, too. Hailey Sorensen (sophomore) has the ability to keep her cool, her poise, under pressure. She doesn’t have to do anything fancy to get the job done.”
Defensively will be a big question mark for Hibbing/Chisholm.
“We lost a few defenders,” Lindstrom said. “Lund is a leader back there, and Ashley will be huge in our defense. I can put her anywhere, and she can score some goals. She’s fast to get back to the net. We’re lucky to have her.
“She’s more confident as a defender. We do have a lot of younger defenders this year. We have to groom them to be like Ashley. She has to give them direction and teach them the different styles and positioning.”
In goal will be either Petrich or Aelia White.
Lindstrom is hoping all of that can come together to make the Bluejackets competitive at playoff time.
“I want them to have fun and win a few games,” she said. “That’s the goal, but I want them to enjoy the game, and have fun with their teammates. I also want them to learn and get better and better each day.”