Last season snapped a string of three straight region championships, but the Lady Trojans still made it to the Class AAA state quarterfinals after making the final four the year prior. Their first endeavor as a Class AAAA team will kickoff at 6 p.m.
There will be some new faces, but there is still plenty of experience returning to the field for coach Drew Ebensberger.
“[It’s] coming along, had a good preseason warmup,” Ebensberger said. “I’ve got to fill some holes from people we lost last year. I’ve got basically the core back, so they’re gelling together. They’re excited to be back out there playing. Things are coming along nicely.”
The two most notable losses to graduation will be a pair of goal scorers Kate Fazio and Morgan McDonald. In Friday night’s scrimmage Carrollton’s offense was still firing in a 4-0 win as Ebensberger got a look at what some other players can do stepping in.
“I’m hoping Sarah Bryan, Anna Camp, Kaycee Chapman and Falen Kizunga, I hope they all can step up. Friday night’s game we had four different scorers. It’s kind of nice to see four different scorers and not just one of us scoring. I’m hoping I can get a good balance of scoring out of those four this year,” Ebensberger said.
Stepping into leadership roles for the Lady Trojans are Morgan Hufnagel and Emily Adams. The Carrollton coach expects both to be vocal leaders on the field and in practice.
“Morgan Hufnagel, she’s been with me now all five years. She’s anchoring down that back, talking, she’s done really well. Emily Adams, a junior this year. She’s filling that role as well playing in the midfield. Looking for her to really become more vocal like Huf does, Huf’s always been a vocal player,” Ebensberger said.
Just like the Lady Trojans roster, Region 5-AAAA has some familiar faces as well as some new ones. Carrollton comes into the season ranked No. 3 in the state just behind region counterpart Columbus, according to eurosportscoreboard.com, just showing the strength of the region.
“It’s going to be tough. Columbus is still in there and going to be tough, Alexander always gives us a good game, Troup and LaGrange they’ve been there. Sandy Creek, I don’t really know much about their program, haven’t really seen much or heard much. They all step up when it’s time to play, especially being region games. It’s going to be tough, it’s going to be a fight to see who makes it out in first place this year,” Ebensberger said.
Northgate will provide a good test for the Lady Trojans as 2013 gets underway.
“It’s going to be a real good game. Northgate always gives us a good game, they’ve got a good program out there. It’s going to be physical, I want to see our girls able to handle that, able to get the ball down, pass, posses. I know it’s early on and we’ve got some new people coming in, filling some shoes so we’re going to have some things to work on. I just want to see them carry over what we have been working on these last three weeks,” Ebensberger said.
The only problem might be the weather. But it will be good experience for the possibility of bad weather in a big game down the road.
“It will make it a little trickier, ball will skip a little easier. You hate playing in those conditions, but it’s nice having the turf so it won’t be muddy just more slick. We’ve just got to come out there and do what we’re supposed to do. It could get ugly because of the weather, we’ve just got to try to keep it down and play our game,” Ebensberger said.