Both teams reached the state playoffs and had program-best finishes.
Entering the 2013 season, Woodstock coach Cory Nix and his River Ridge counterpart, Sarah Goodbread, will attempt to pick their teams up where they left off.
Woodstock finished last year 13-4 and advanced to the second round of the Class AAAAA, playoffs where it lost to eventual state champion Milton.
The Lady Wolverines, however, graduated Cherokee Tribune Girls Soccer Player of the Year Caitlin Tongco. Tongco has moved on to Georgia Southern, where she is now a teammate of former Creekview standout Cori Dulmage.
Woodstock will need to make up for the 28 goals and 12 assists attributed to Tongco last season, as well as the hole left by graduated midfielder Samantha Thomas.
River Ridge is poised to have its strongest season yet as it did not lose any players to graduation. The Lady Knights are aiming for their second region title in three years, but they could face more challenges moving up to Class AAAA.
“I hope this is our year to make a strong show in the state tournament,” Goodbread said.
Shannon Driscoll, a 29-goal scorer who made the all-county team last year, returns for her senior season before going to Kennesaw State. She will be joined by another returning all-county player in Chanel Mosley, a junior defenseman who scored nine goals last season.
New additions to the team include freshmen Arlyn Hott, Brooke, DeSantis and Jessica Anthony. According to Goodbread, all three newcomers will likely start.
The coach knows that the schedule will be challenging, but she has confidence in her team.
“We have some very tough games this season, including our opening scrimmage with Blessed Trinity,” Goodbread said. “We will also take on top-ranked Northview and Roswell. I know these games will be tough, but I have confidence in the girls in their ability to compete.”
Sequoyah hopes to be competitive in Region 7AAAAA, according to coach Bill Dillon, but it will have to overcome some youth and inexperience in the process.
The Lady Chiefs suffered through a losing season in 2012 and missed out on the playoffs, but Sequoyah’s few returners hope to change that this season.
Sophomore Kailyn Groover will lead the group of returning players. According to Dillon, she will be asked to play everywhere.
“We will be leaning on her for scoring punch and to add some physicality and speed to our defense,” Dillon said.
Jordan Kohn, a junior midfielder, was the team’s leading scorer last year. She will again be asked to carry the load in the offense, while also increasing her leadership role with the team.
Senior Denisse Leyva will lead the defense. The Lady Chiefs have made some changes and added some young players to the defense, and Leyva will be tasked with keeping them sharp.
Freshmen Lizbeth Coleman and Emilee Saigh will bring some of the youth that Dillon speaks of. Coleman, a midfielder, will be asked to contribute scoring and generating offense. Saigh, a midfielder, will add some toughness to midfield and be relied upon heavily.
Creekview will be undergoing some major rebuilding this season after losing 10 players — nine graduated and one was an exchange student — but coach Kerri Schmitt says not to count her players out.
Freshmen Samantha Rolka and Maddie Hill are expected to see significant playing time.
Returning sophomores Samantha Schoppy (center/midfielder) and Kayleigh Artise (center/backfield) will bring their experience.
Junior Bailey Kaye will be a key factor in the Lady Grizzlies’ attack, while Kristin Andreassen will play in the backfield.
The team will also feature seniors Amanda Richardson, Natalie Razov and Janet Garner.
Cherokee will have some holes to fill on its squad after graduating a pair of all-county seniors in forward Jenna Burris and goalkeeper Amanda Lopez. Both players, who went on to join college rosters, will be difficult to replace.
Etowah will try to make another trip to the state playoffs out of Region 5AAAAAA. Last year, the Lady Eagles lost to Milton in the first round.
The Lady Eagles graduated defender Payton Donley — a member of the all-county team — but they will be bring back plenty of experience in midfielder Jaclyn Miller. Also returning are senior Kelly Anthony and junior Erin Rodman.