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Last one, best one for Park girls soccer

Park senior captain Haley Mead said the Wolfpack have “strengths at every position.” (Submitted photo by Scott Briggs)

Park senior Denin Fliss said head coach Greg Juba has a saying he likes to use.

“Last one, best one,” she said.

And though Juba is entering what will be his final season as Park’s head coach before he hangs it up, he’s not talking about himself. Rather, he’s referring to his 18-girl senior class that’s hoping to make their final campaign a memorable one.

“That group of seniors, they’re very good girls,” he said. “They’re good athletes, they’re good soccer players and they’re good citizens, so it’s good to end up with them.”

Park returns a plethora of talent this fall, including all-state performer Annie Williams and all-conference honorees Maddie Castro, Carlie Williams, Haley Mead and goalkeeper Emily Lange from a club that went 11-5 one year ago.

“We have strengths in every position,” Mead, a captain, said. “We’re a very talented team.”

That much was obvious in Park’s 1-0 season-opening overtime win over Kasson-Mantorville on Aug. 21. The Wolfpack controlled possession for much of the game and generated plenty of quality scoring chances.

But Park couldn’t find the back of the net until Castro dribbled through five defenders before cashing a shot into the back of the net. Still, Juba said those types of goals won’t happen too often and scoring will be one of the keys for Park if it wants consistent success this season.

“Soccer is a very weird game,” Juba said. “it’s one of the few team games where you can dominate and end up losing. … We just have to find ways to score.”

Park appears to have found its scoring stroke over the weekend, as it netted a combined six tallies en route to victories over Coon Rapids and Apple Valley to push its record to 3-0 on the campaign.

Juba said if his squad stays healthy, it can compete with anyone in the ultra competitive Suburban East Conference and Section 3AA fields.

This is likely just the type of start the Wolfpack’s group of seniors envisioned for what they hope will be a successful, special senior season.

“We want to make coach Juba’s last year and our last year a good year,” Mead said. “As a captain, I have really high hopes for this team.”