MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Mankato West girls soccer team is no stranger to the state tournament as the Scarlets have won three straight section titles.
Earlier this week, we caught up with the squad that’s reloading after losing eight seniors.
“We really adjusted quickly to the new players, we think we have nine new freshmen and sophomores. It’s been a lot of fun,” said Kristen Rasmussen, Mankato West senior.
The Mankato West Scarlets are happy with the first week and a half or so of practice as the team sets out to make it four straight appearances at state.
West will have its first test Thursday against Orono.
“We want to play a team like Orono so we can see what the best competition in the state is bringing. Early in the season it gives us a measure of what we already do well and what we need to work on. It’s nice to have Orono in that way at the beginning,” said Crissy Makela, Mankato West head coach.
“Orono for our first game is definitely a nail biter. Those games are nerve–wracking, but it’s definitely a good challenge for us for our first game,” said Katie Roberts, Mankato West senior.
The Scarlets will try to keep the state tournament streak alive with a strong senior class that’s played in a number of big contests throughout their careers while also integrating younger talent onto the field.
“All the pieces have to be in the right place, there is probably a little bit of luck along the way. We take this whole thing, put it in our own hands, and we make sure to prepare every facet of the game that we can so that we’re in control when it comes time to compete for the section and state tournament,” said Makela.
“I think we’re very determined. We like to put in a lot of effort. You lose the ball, you go get it back, you don’t just sit there and watch them score. You win it back and score yourself,” said Claire Hemstock, Mankato West senior.
The squad played in some scrimmages over the past weekend, and are ready to hit the pitch for regular season action.
West plays Orono at home Thursday at 5 p.m.