When it comes to girls soccer in the Hoosier Hills Conference, Columbus East has been nothing short of dominant.
The Olympians have either won or shared the HHC title 17 of the 19 years the sport has been contested in the conference. They’ve won or shared eight in a row, including last season, when they tied with New Albany.
East will look to make it nine in a row this year, and it will try to make it back-to-back sectional championships. The Olympians won their second sectional title in three years last season and lost by one goal in the regional final.
Seven starters return from that team, which finished 10-5-5.
“I think we have an incredibly hard-working group with a lot of soccer knowledge and soccer skill,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “Our level of play will match up to the skill we have, and they are going to entertain the East fans a lot this year. It’s a very high-quality soccer team.”
Junior Morgan Martindale returns at center back, and seniors Kayla Gastineau and Mila Lipinski return at outside back. Senior Maggie Lewis is back in the center midfield, and senior Karlee Dowd returns at outside midfield.
Junior Addy Galarno and sophomore Sarah Park are back at forward. Galarno led the Olympians with 16 goals last season.
Senior Brooke Hamblen will take over the goalkeeping duties. Battling for the other outfield spots are senior midfielder Kim Schneckenberger, sophomore forward Kamebry Wagner at forward sophomore defenders Annie Bastian and Breiana Burton on defense, freshman defender Lindsey Stoughton and freshman midfielders Jaeda Berkemeier and Maya Federle.
“I have a pretty good nucleus returning with a lot of experience, and then we also have some incoming freshmen that are pretty good, so they’re going to contribute,” Schwartzman said. “We have a lot of high-quality players, and I think we’re going to be very solid this year.”
Not only to the Bull Dogs return numerous players who saw action last year, they welcome back four who missed all or most of last season with injuries.
North finished 5-9-3 last fall.
“We have an experienced crew coming back, so that’s always encouraging,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “They’re working hard, and we have some injured players back from last year, so we’re working them in.”
Senior Charlotte Verbanic is back for her fourth year starting in goal. Seniors Emma Wilson and Marina Hughes return at center back. Senior Elizabeth Craig, who played in the midfield, could play center back or forward.
Senior Natalie Teo returns in the center midfield. Senior Chloe Chambers played there and at forward before being injured.
Senior Addy Lang, who scored 25 goals as a sophomore, is back at forward after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. Sophomore Tanner Johnson also returns at forward.
Seniors Reagan Ward and Claire Risley, who are returning from injury could play in the midfield or on defense. Senior Katlin Meek and junior Anna Andrews could play in the back, and junior Corrinne Orben could play anywhere on the field.
Freshman Caroline Hollenkamp; sophomores Christy DeDomenic, Elise Whitley and Baleigh Drum and junior Kristen Orben could play in the midfield. Junior Liz Tynan could see time in goal.
“This is probably the deepest we’ve been for awhile,” Stewart said. “We feel like we’re in a good position right now going into the season.”
Last year was a tale of two seasons for the Panthers. They won their first seven games before dropping their final 10 to finish 7-10.
Five starters are back from that team, and Jennings has a promising group of incoming freshmen.
Senior Mackenzie Byram is back in goal. Also returning are senior Annsley Blackburn at center back, sophomore Callie Wilder at outside back, junior Lexi Brown at defensive midfielder and senior Olivia Vanosdol at forward.
Junior Kailee Littrell, a defensive midfielder, missed most of last season with an injury.
Freshman Baylee Byford will step in at center back, while freshman twins Katie and Kayla Pappenheim will play attacking midfielder and outside back. Sophomore Naomi Beal will be an outside midfielder, and freshman Emily Montgomery, sophomore Andrea Reitman and junior Anna McDonald are battling for the other outside midfield spot.
“I’m really excited about this season,” Jennings coach Kate Gray said. “It’s been one of those that you see these kids come up through the pipeline. I finally have a class of freshmen that have come in that are able to compete at a high level and push those upperclassmen that haven’t necessarily had to compete for a spot.”
The Eagles will look to improve after going 3-11 last season.
Seniors Azhia Morgan and Maddy Fields, sophomore Maggie Crimmins and junior Katie Spires will return to the lineup. Senior Bailee Robison could fill the goalkeeping job after playing some there last year.
Junior Emma Quackenbush, seniors Jennifer Sizemore and Jori Bruner and sophomore Sklyar Fleischman likely will move into starting roles. The other two starting spots are up for grabs between several players.
“We have a lot of good numbers,” Brown County coach David Phelps said. “We have a lot of players who put in a lot of time over the offseason and have come back strong. Our sophomore class is pretty good, and they’ll be kind of setting the pace for everybody else, I think.”
The Cougars has a solid season as a first-year program, going 8-8. All but one starter returns.
Junior forward Maddie Roark scored 37 goals and was a second-team All-District selection. Sophomore Maddie Bell also is back at forward.
Senior Kirstin Hoene and senior Lexi Keller return in the center midfield, and junior Lucy Cooper and sophomore Sydney Hoene are back at outside midfield. Sophomore Emily Lang returns at center back, and senior Hailley Peters is back in goal.
Senior Emma Patmore returns at outside back, and will be joined by sophomore Nora Rudzinski or senior Macy Taylor. Freshman Emma Goecker steps in at center back. Sophomore Vadalis Montanez, a transfer from Seymour, will play in goal when Peters is with the volleyball team.
“Last year, being a new team, we played some games where our inexperienced showed,” Trinity coach Jeff Nolting said. “This year, I think we can be more competitive. We just want to continue to improve and continue to try to build a program.”
The 2016 Columbus East and Columbus North girls soccer schedules
Wednesday;Bloomington North;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 22;at Bloomington South;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 27;at Columbus North;6 p.m.
Aug. 30;at Madison;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2;at North Central Invitational;5:30 p.m.
Sept. 3;at North Central Invitational;10 a.m.
Sept. 6;Bedford North Lawrence;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 8;Batesville;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 10;Floyd Central;7 p.m.
Sept. 13;Jennings County;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15;Roncalli;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 17;at New Albany;11:30 a.m.
Sept. 20;Jeffersonville;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 24;at Center Grove Tournament;10 a.m.
Sept. 29;at Seymour;7:30 p.m.
Monday;at Center Grove;7 p.m.
Thursday;Heritage Christian;6 p.m.
Aug. 20;Lawrenceburg;11:30 a.m.
Aug. 24;at Bloomington North;7:30 p.m.
Aug. 27;Columbus East;6 p.m.
Aug. 31;Franklin Central;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 10;at Terre Haute South;12:30 p.m.
Sept. 14;at Perry Meridian;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 17;Terre Haute North;5 p.m.
Sept. 19;at Bloomington South;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21;at East Central;7:30 p.m.
Sept. 24;Conference Indiana tourney at Terre Haute;TBA
Sept. 27;Batesville;7:30 p.m.
Oct. 1;Franklin;11:30 a.m.