Defense, possession critical for Resorters

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staf

CAMRIE SCHMITZ (11), Elkhart Lake junior forward, led the Resorters in goals last season. Schmitz is shown last season playing against Oostburg’s Sierra Thein. – Photo by Mike McGill CAMRIE SCHMITZ (11), Elkhart Lake junior forward, led the Resorters in goals last season. Schmitz is shown last season playing against Oostburg’s Sierra Thein. – Photo by Mike McGill ELKHART LAKE — Defense and ball possession will be crucial for the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah girls soccer team this season.

The Resorters return six starters but graduated three of their four defensive starters along with their holding midfielder.

“It will come down to how well we can defend and play in the midfield possessing the ball,” said Kevin Ruh who’s in his fourth season as the EL-G head coach.

Ruh said other keys to success for the team will be to stay as injury free as possible and to win the time of possession.

Elkhart, which finished 6-10-1 overall last season and 6-8 in the Central Lakeshore Conference, is led by senior midfielder-goalkeeper Monica Ruh and junior forward Camrie Schmitz. Schmitz was an All-CLC first-team forward and Ruh was on the second team as a midfielder last year.

Schmitz led Elkhart in goals with 24 for the overall season and ranked third in the CLC with 20 goals.

The other returning starters among 11 letter winners are senior defenders Erica Heinig and Becca Diestler, junior midfielders Lauren Boos and Paige Nelson, and junior goalkeeper-midfielder Taylor Porter. Porter made 70 saves last year in her first season as the starting goalie.

“Erica developed into a great outside midfielder [wing] towards the end of the year, working her way into starting the final four games,” said coach Ruh.

“Lauren Boos played out of position last year as our center defender. She plays a very aggressive game which ended in a few penalty kicks last year, however her aggressiveness also stopped 64 shot attempts.

“Moving her to holding mid will allow her more freedom to use her physical presence to control the middle of the field and set up our forwards.”

Coach Ruh is upbeat about the season.

“I think as a coach you always need to be very optimistic,” he said. “We go into the season planning to win them all. If you think you will lose, then you will.”

The coach pointed out the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Our strength this year will be our trust between our girls,” he said.

He said the weaknesses are the loss of varsity-level experience and leadership provided by the six starters who graduated.

“We have 15 girls this year. We picked up three girls that have not played for a few years. The key will be getting them up to speed quickly,” said coach Ruh.

“Our juniors had opportunities last year to play on and off. They will be tested this year playing full time with little to no rest.”

Among the varsity newcomers, coach Ruh has been impressed with sophomore defender Sarah Schneider.

“She has a good understanding of defense and has bonded well with the team,” he observed.

Coach Ruh and his team have lofty goals.

“Our top goal is to win every game and be state champions,” he said.

The coach said the team’s main goal is to leave everything on the field and walk away, win or lose, knowing they did everything they could do on that particular day.

The Resorters will play in the new Big East Conference this season. All of the schools from the defunct CLC and St. Mary Catholic (Neenah) from the old Olympian Conference will field teams in the BEC this year. Kohler, which joined Sheboygan Lutheran for a team last season in the CLC, has its own squad this year.

Coach Ruh predicts the BEC title contenders will be Ozaukee, Howards Grove, Oostburg and Cedar Grove-Belgium. Ozaukee finished first in the CLC last season, followed by HGHS and Oostburg, respectively.

“The four teams listed [above], year in and year out put state-level teams on the field,” he said.

“Our first half of the season we play seven games in a two-week period. Keeping the girls physically and mentally healthy during this stretch could make or break our season.”

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