Cassie Raehsler knew taking over for Joe Perske as Sartell’s varsity girls soccer coach would be challenging.
Perske, who retired after last season, had made his mark as Sartell emerged as an area team to contend with.
Raehsler, in fact, played for Perske for one season.
“I’m replacing the legend,” Raehsler said with a chuckle.
It is working out well so far.
The Sabres head into an interesting game with St. Cloud Cathedral that has Section 8A implications. The two look to be the top two teams in the south sub-section. They play at 1 p.m. today at Sartell.
“It’s just been a ton of fun so far,” Raehsler said. “There is so much talent on this team.
“We only have five upperclassmen. But we have a ton of talent. It’s exciting.”
The program has taken a definite in-house approach. Raehsler and assistants Ashley Lehmeier and Lindsay Poplinski are Sartell grads.
Lehrmeier was an all-stater who played at Bemidji State from 2003-06. Poplinski is a 2009 Sartell grad.
“We keep it local,” Raehsler said.
“We bleed (Sartell) blue.”
Katie Stuttgen leads the team in scoring. Raehsler calls her a college prospect.
“She’s pretty solid all-around,” the coach said. “She’s fast, a real good track athlete. Plus, she’s a fierce competitor.”
The Sabres are 3-1-1 in the Central Lakes Conference, 4-1-1 overall. Alexandria (4-0-0, 5-1-0) and Brainerd (4-0-0, 5-0-1) are ahead of Sartell. St. Cloud Tech (2-1-1, 2-3-2) is right behind.
“It’s promising,” Raehsler said.
Tech and Sartell played to a 2-2 double-overtime tie Sept. 3 and play again at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at St. Cloud State.
Those two goals the Tigers scored are the only two Sartell has allowed this season. Allie Hemmesch has been a standout goalkeeper. She’s a ninth-grader.
The Sabres have a home match at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Willmar, then have two tough road games, Thursday at unbeaten Brainerd and Saturday at Moorhead.
Regardless of what happens, expect Raehsler to maintain her enthusiasm. Raehlser, a 2005 Sartell graduate, played at the College of St. Benedict. She coached in Sartell’s junior high program in 2007 before moving on to Sauk Rapids for a season. She also has coached several summer travel teams.
She works for the Target Corporation in the Twin Cities, but loves working with high school athletes.
“It (coaching) is a career thing for me,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade it. The girls keep me on my toes.”