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Willmar Cardinals Girls Hockey preview

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sports Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

COACH

Chad Akerson (1st year)

ASSISTANT COACHES

Lee Wierschem (varsity), Veronica Collins (head JV), Kelsey Ochsendorf (assistant JV)

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LAST SEASON

8-18 overall; 2-12 CLC, 8th place; Section 2A: beat St. Peter 7-3, lost Mankato West 6-2

KEY DATES

Season/Central Lakes Conference: 7 p.m. today vs. North Wright County (St. Michael-Albertville, Monticello, Annandale, Big Lake) at Monticello

Home Opener: 7 p.m. Friday vs. St. Cloud Icebreakers

Cardinal Classic: Nov. 27-28 (Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato, Mankato East, Morris/Benson Area)

Holiday Tournament: Dec. 28-30 at Austin

Section 2A quarterfinals: Feb. 11 at high seed

ROSTER BREAKDOWN

Seniors

Meckenzie Dahle, defense

Carlie Freese, defense

Jennie Mattison, defense

Erin Sheehan, forward

Ali Sing, forward

Samantha Thompson, defense

Juniors

Kayte Cole, center

Alex Linbo, forward

Sophomores

Paige Davis, forward

Becca Freese, wing

Kylee Hulscher, wing

Kendra Maxfield, forward

Baylie Young, goalie

Freshmen

Sam Block, defense

Brooke Mayer, forward

Madison Sandberg, goalie

Brittney Serbus, defense

Lauren Sing, defense

Eighth Grade

Miranda Roelofs, wing

FOR STARTERS

Lines: (First) Ali Sing (14 goals-15 assists-29 points) centering LW Kayte Cole and RW Kylee Hulscher ... (2nd) Becca Freese (5-5-10) centering RW Meckenzie Dahle (5-7-12) and LW Erin Sheehan (7-6-13) ... (3rd) Brooke Mayer centering RW Alex Linbo and LW Lauren Sing/Miranda Roelofs ... Defense (pairs): Sam Thompson and Jennie Mattison, Sam Block and Carlee Freese, Kendra Maxfield and Brittney Serbus ... Goalies: Baylie Young (5-13, .871 save percentage), Madison Sandberg (0-1, .911) ... Notes: Fourteen letterwinners back and only four seniors lost, though that includes four-time MVP and All-State Honorable Mention forward Chelsey Wierschem, who owns Cardinals' single-season goal-scoring record (34). New coach Akerson has coached in boys programs (six seasons). He's the third head coach in program's 12th year after Ross Dahl (eight seasons) and Rick Dahle (three seasons). Blue-line defenders are veteran and will have to keep score down until offense clicks.

OUTLOOK

Coach Chad Akerson: "Strengths are senior leadership and seasoned defenders. We have a lot of youth on roster who didn't play a major role last year and they must step up. We're not the biggest or strongest but have been working hard to change that. We scrimmaged North Wright County on Saturday and tied 2-2. I'm excited to coach my first game against Tim Hanson (WHS '92), who was an assistant coach with John Wilson my senior year (at Willmar) and some one I really admire."

-- Rand Middleton

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