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A new Marine era starts today

Megan Veriha (left) and Allison Koerner battle for possession of the ball during a Marinette Marine practice Wednesday. The Marines will open their season today at Appleton Xavier. EagleHerald/Jody Korch

Not your typical first-year program

MARINETTE - First-year sports programs normally have modest expectations and a steep learning curve.

The Marinette Marine girls' soccer team has the look of a team ready to hit the ground running.

Marinette will begin its era of girls' soccer today at 4:30 p.m. at Appleton Xavier.

Playing your first-ever match against a defending Division 2 state semifinalist is a tall task, but one the Marines welcome.

"We know we're getting into a tough deal tomorrow at Xavier," coach Chris Mahlik said. "I'm really confident. I'm positive about this whole situation. A great group of girls."

Several of the Marines play club soccer, and nearly all of them have extensive experience in the M&M Youth Soccer Association.

"So, it's not like we're starting a rec program and just coming out here. Some of these girls have been playing soccer all of their lives."

The Marines got some positive reinforcement when they battled Green Bay Southwest to a standoff in Tuesday's scrimmage.

"From our first scrimmage it looks like things are going to go well," senior midfielder/forward Ashly Torkko said. "I think from all the positive attitudes and our effort we'll be able to win some games."

Other seniors include midfielder Allie Mahlik, forward Ashley Kraus, defender/midfielder Heather Carrier and defender/goalkeeper Marissa McKinney.

Juniors include forward Felicia Rogendorf, defender/midfielder Keisha Stuart, goalie Carrie Knutson, midfielders Sara Kitzinger and Maddie Rastall, and Sarah Carviou on defense.

The sophomores are defender/goalie Tiffany Deastell, defender Katelynn Kamin and midfielders Lizzy Zimmerman and Zoey Hallfrisch.

Marinette's freshmen are defenders Alex Haight, Megan Veriha, Lily Kallestad, Joelle Stefanic, Allison Koerner and Martina Dura; midfielder Cassondra McVane and forward Alex Cording.

"In one way or another I've coached most of them, so I already know pretty much where they should be playing," said coach Mahlik, the soccer association president.

Mahlik and Torkko will take the lion's share of the corner kicks. Cording, who scored seven goals in a co-ed M&M Youth Soccer match last summer, will be a major scoring threat, according to the coach. McVane will also provide scoring punch, he said.

"Our defense is very strong, and you've got to start with the defense," according to the coach. "We don't have a lot of scoring.

Ball control, aggressiveness and communication are points of emphasis.

"Right now it's first touch, meaning control of the ball," coach Mahlik explained. "Going to the ball is a big concern. If you wait for the ball it's gonna be taken away. We're teaching the girls to be physical. We've got to be talking the whole game."

Mahlik's assistants are Frank Pohlmann and Mike "Spike" Dura.

The only Bay Conference team without girls' soccer is Oconto Falls. The head coach expects West De Pere, Seymour and New London to be among the top Bay teams.


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