After only one week of workouts, the Southwestern Illinois College women's soccer team had its first intrasquad scrimmage on Monday.
It was, to say the least, a bit competitive. But just the way first-year coach Juergen Huettner likes to see it.
"It was spirited. It got a little physical. And to a point that's good. These ladies are all competitive athletes and they all want a chance to play. Competition is good,'' Huettner said.
"We have a long season ahead of us and while I would like to have a few more players for added depth, I believe the talent level and work ethic on this team is strong enough that we have an opportunity to get to the national tournament.''
Huettner, who takes over the Blue Storm program from Chad Lignoul, knows all about reaching the highest levels of soccer. Before taking over at SWIC, Huettner coached St. Louis Community College to back-to-back appearances in the NJCAA National Tournament the past two years.
SWIC opens its exhibition schedule Aug. 20 at Lindenwood University-Belleville. The regular season opener is set for Aug. 28 at St. Charles (Mo.) College.
Huettner didn't come to SWIC alone, as several STLCC players have transferred from St. Louis to Belleville. Added with several sophomores returning and a strong recruiting class and SWIC could be a Region 24 power again this fall.
Leading the way will be freshman goalie Holly Blumner. A Collinsville graduate, Blumner is the only goalie listed on the Blue Storm roster, but comes from one of the premier high school programs in the state.
"Obviously Holly has been taught well by her coaches at Collinsville. Fundamentally, she's very strong,'' Huettner said. "Her agility in goal is very good, she sees the field well and she does a good job of communicating with her defense.''
"That's one of the areas that as a coach, I put a strong emphasis on. We will be a team which play good defense.''
The defense looks good. Sophomore Annie Miskovic (Oakville, Mo.) should be one of the top defenders in (NJCAA) Region 24, while Belleville East products Emily Costantini and Kaley Bell wlll also be mainstays along with Brooke Blasingame (Collinsville) and Miranda Buettner (Lindbergh).
"Defensively and with Holly (Blumner) back there, we could be very strong,'' Huettner said. "The players we have back there are very skilled, strong and have good speed.''
In the midfield will be Taylor Tosovsky (Edwardsville), Meredith Wendt (Triad), Rebecca Lawrence (Belleville West) and Erin Collier (Pattonville), while high-scoring Alyssa Houck (Freeburg), Collier and Kayla Farr (Fox, Mo.) should help provide offense at the forward spots. Dominique Tedesco (Freeburg) will also play for midfield spot, while key reserves include Ally Mentzer (Belleville West), Alyssa Geissler (Belleville East), Elena Mendez (Collinsville) and Elizabeth Milligan (Collinsville.)
The Blue Storm will also be aided by the addition of Jessica Bayne as an assistant coach. One of the top players in metro-east history when she played at Triad, Bayne went on to become a standout at the University of Illinois.
Alex McDonald and Kelsey Panzau are Huettner's other assistants.