After making gradual progress throughout last season, the Fort Dodge girls soccer team is looking to take another step forward this time around.
Second-year co-head coaches Lindsay Boeckman and Ashley Miller feel the experience gained in 2012 will help the Dodgers become a more consistent force on the pitch.
"I think we're still super young, but our girls have come into the season super excited and motivated to work hard and do their best," Boeckman said. "Our eagerness to do well is contagious and will be one of our huge strengths."
Following an up-and-down 4-11 overall campaign, FDSH returns six of its top seven scorers to the lineup. Junior Francis Lee paced the Dodgers last spring with five goals, while Paige Savery - another junior - added a pair of tallies. Lee was named to the all-CIML Iowa Conference second team for her standout individual efforts, while Savery landed on the top squad.
Senior Allie Becker, juniors Haleigh Dolder and Madeline Westerhoff and sophomore Hailee Richardson all found the back of the net once as well for Fort Dodge.
Keeper Theresa Birzer, a senior, was also a reliable performer a year ago, collecting 148 saves.
"What's awesome about this team is we have so many leaders," said Boeckman. "We just have a lot of people that can step up in a lot of different ways."
Seniors Katie Salinas and Kayla Olson, juniors Cassie Stumpf, Amy Barkley, Erin Ruden and Mara Forsythe and sophomores Bailey Wade and Riley Hartman are the others expected to log heavy minutes.
"The snow has been kind of tough to deal with, but hopefully we can get off to a good start and gain some confidence," Boeckman said. "Any success we have definitely would prove to the girls that their hard work has paid off.
"We got some of the quirks out of the way last year, and now we're ready to rock and roll."
FDSH did manage a three-game victory streak late last season, while five of its losses came by two scores or less.
The Dodgers debut Monday at Webster City. Fort Dodge's home opener is set for April 8 against Sioux City North.