Two years have passed since the University School of Jackson girls’ soccer team last won the Division II-A state championship.
The Lady Bruins came close both of those years with a semifinal appearance in 2012 and a runner-up finish in 2013.
USJ returns all 11 starters from last year, and the Lady Bruins are looking to win its third state title in the last five years.
There is a large senior class that wants to finish on top.
The defense is led by a senior in Shelby Williams, The Jackson Sun’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. But there are other seniors on the backline like Lauren Pitcairn and Sarah Pierce, as well as Mary Alex Richards in goal.
Teams will struggle to find ways to score on the Lady Bruins this season.
USJ is just as seasoned on the attack. Senior Rachel Giampapa and junior Abby Fleming are the go-to forwards that can score 20 or more goals each this season.
Seniors Madison Perchik and junior Addison Dunn will run the wings in the midfield and look to make runs to the corner to cross the ball or into the box.
Another team that will be looking to make a move in Division II-A is Sacred Heart. The Lady Knights advanced to the Class A-AA state tournament two years ago, but came up short last year in Division II-A.
Sacred Heart will have to find a way to replace six senior starters that helped build this young program.
Alaina Graham is the lone senior with experience that returns, but the Lady Knights do have a strong junior class with Lauren Crowe, Emily Whitaker and Emma Sopcak.
Michael Odom, 425-9754