2013 Fall Sports Preview: Park girls soccer team on hunt for state tournament again this season
It was a banner year for the Park girls soccer team last season. Despite fielding only five seniors, the youthful Wolfpack went 11-4-3 and reached the Section 3AAA championship game. However, the season ended in heartbreak.
Park has been to three section finals in the past five years. In each of those championships, it has played Eastview and in every of those games Eastview has beaten the Wolfpack in a shootout.
In last year’s section final, Park — the No. 2 seed — was denied its first trip to the state tournament in 20 years after top-seeded Eastview outscored the Wolfpack 3-1 in a shootout to earn a trip to state. The state champion in 1990, Park hasn’t reached a state tournament since 1992.
Park didn’t allow a goal in its three section playoff games and allowed only 10 goals all season and a majority of the key players from last year’s squad return to the field for Park this season.
Greg Juba, the only girls soccer head coach in Park history, returns for a 32nd season leading the Wolfpack. He went over 400 wins last season and has more wins than any other girls soccer coach in Minnesota.
“The Wolfpack will have many experienced players at most positions to start this season on the varsity field,” Juba said. “Players will still be competing with each other for starting spots and increased playing time on the field.”
Though it could be on the verge of blossoming, Park begins the season a little under the radar. The Wolfpack are ranked 15th in Class AA to start the year — behind four Suburban East Conference schools (No. 4 Woodbury, No. 5 East Ridge, No. 7 White Bear Lake and No. 11 Stillwater) and three Section 3AAA teams (No. 6 Burnsville, No. 9 Eastview and No. 12 Rosemount).
Park graduated five girls who played varsity minutes last year — Amber Brand, Hailey Schmitz, Kristen Boese, Lisa Linn and captain Nikki Schnegelberger.
However, the Wolfpack returns as many as 14 regulars from last season and fields a roster loaded with all-state caliber players, led by senior attacker Temi Ogunrinde, senior midfielder Katelyn Floysand, senior defender Anna Keys, junior defender Annie Williams, junior mid Carlie Williams and junior attacker Maddie Castro.
Park is off to a 3-0 start this season and has yet to allow a goal. The Wolfpack have beaten Kasson-Mantorville, Coon Rapids and Monticello.
Next, Park takes on St. Michael-Albertville on Friday, Aug. 30, at Wolfpack Stadium. The Wolfpack opens conference play against rival East Ridge on Thursday, Sept. 5, at Park.
“We will need to improve quickly in our preseason scrimmages and in the first two weeks of the non-conference games in order to be ready for the SEC,” Juba said.