NEWPORT–With only four seniors on the 2012 roster, North Country's girls soccer team will be fielding a crew made up of primarily 11 juniors, along with said seniors, 3 sophomores and 1 freshman.
"We are looking very good, said coach Jose´Batista. "They've put in two weeks of hard training and I think that this being Peter and I's third year, it has given us a little more insight of what this league's all about and what our strength and weakness' of our program are."
This year will be the final one in the Capital Division, which is a mix of Division I and II teams that play a hybrid schedule.
Next year it they will play a full Metro Division schedule, similar to that of the boy's team, and having a good grasp on your program's needs is a handy thing indeed.
However, before we get too far ahead, let's look at this season.
A new, but familiar face will be manning the nets for North Country this season.
Jenna Moss, who appeared in four games last year, takes the place of Lindsay Geoffrey, whose mid-season shut-out streak will be a tough thing to duplicate.
"She right now is considered our starting keeper, and we have Whitney Bernier who is sophomore as our back-up. They are both training very hard and I think they both should be very, very good keepers," said Batista.
Moving out in front of the goalies, the defense will have two seniors providing dependable play as well as leadership on the pitch.
Elizabeth Maxwell gets the nod at sweeper, while Baylee Jacobs, will be a big defender who can play in the back.
"Elizabeth really gained a lot of confidence playing with us last year and Baylee is coming off of injury so we are taking it slow, but she definitely knows our system," said the coach.
Juniors Ashley Robishaw-Morin, Lindsey Gaboriault, and Elizabeth Alexander will also be of impact in the backfield for the Falcons.
In the middle of the field there will be a bevy of experience for the NCU coaching staff to work with, starting with Anna Bingham.
Said Batista, "Anna will be a big part part of it. She can control the middle of the field with her size, and I believe she can do a good job controlling the middle for us."
"I am going to have to take up responsibility in the middle where Noelle and Kate played last year. I'm excited. We are a young team, but I think we are going to be good,” said the senior.
Flanking her will be a combination of Natalie Sykes, Hollie Smith and Kylie Maple.
Shelby Maniatty will likely be used in the middle where she could provide some needed offense.
Speaking of which, up front for the Falcons will be a showcase of the quick.
"Up top we are fast. You come to watch our team you will see. Crystal Moss has been putting the ball in the nets for us in our scrimmages, and after being with us for a couple of years I think she is really starting to understand the game."
Chelsea Bianchi will be playing the role of an offensive-minded midi who will be encouraged to go up with the offense and get into the thick of things.
The third spot up top belongs to the youngest member of the team, freshman Devinnie Davis.
"She has a lot of speed, has really impressed us and will be playing a lot on top. And she has already scored a goal in the preseason," said Batista, knowing that he has the potential to have a sure scoring threat with the team for the next four years.
Also seeing time on offense will be Kate LeBlanc.
With a well rounded team, the Falcons will look to improve on their 10-4 record of last season, before making the jump to the Metro in 2013.
North Country gets underway today when they make the trek down to Northfield to take on the Mauraders.
Game time is 4:30.