For University Heights Academy girl's soccer coach Michael Parker, it's a whole lot different of a team from a year ago.
Losing five seniors, including Murray State Racer Lilly Strader, as well as two others, Parker is looking to a lot of new faces to step up and help the Lady Blazers as they start the 2019 season.
Parker said there will be players in new places on the pitch next year, as he tries to figure out the identity of the squad.
"Of that seven, five were seniors -- Lilly was one of them," he said. "We lost two others. One who decided to no longer play and the other -- another one of our big time goal scorers Kate Cansler tore her ACL. Between losing Lilly and Kate that's two huge losses for us. We're moving players into different positions. Some girls are going to play in spots they haven't necessarily played in before and we're relying on other people to get goals. It's going to be a learning curve the first couple games we play but we'll have a better idea once we get a few games in just exactly how we're going to look this season."
"As a team, we won't score as many goals this season as we have in the last three or four, but you don't need to score 100 goals in a season to be successful," he said.
Overall, despite the subtraction of half of his roster from a year ago, Parker has been pleased with how his group has played heading into the year.
"We went to camp and we did really well there and we went to the Bluegrass Games and won three games up there," Parker said. "We just played two scrimmages last week -- we lost one and we won one. But the team is starting to come together fairly well.
"We're definitely a different team than we were last year. We lost seven players from a team that only had 15. We added five freshman -- two or three of them had never played soccer before. We're definitely less experienced … I think that we're going to be fine going forward," he said.
With the loss of Strader, who finished with 46 goals a year ago, and Cansler, who is recovering from a torn ACL, the Lady Blazers do not possess the speed and athleticism they used to.
Parker said he has made the proper changes to put his team in the best position to succeed without those two this year.
"We're definitely trying to do a better job of holding possession of the ball," Parker said. "So far -- at Bluegrass and at camp we've done a fairly good job of that. Lilly was able to run past people. Losing Kate, we're probably a little less
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athletic (and) probably not as quick of a team we've been the last couple years. We've done a better job of holding the ball to create opportunities."
As for expectations, Parker is keeping it simple.
"All I'm asking is for them to come in and give it 100% every day and if they continue to do that the way they have done, I think that we'll continue to progress and improve as a team," he said.
UHA begins its season at 5:45 p.m. Monday against Calloway County at home.