NOTE: F-forward, M-midfielder, D-defender, GK-goalkeeper
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Okemos, 2. Grand Ledge, 3. East Lansing, 4. Holt, 5. Jackson, 6. Everett, 7. Eastern, 8. Sexton
Top players: Aubrey Hogan (East Lansing), Caroline Serkaian (Okemos), Anne Major (Okemos), Bria Telemaque (Okemos), Kailey Peterson (Okemos), Sophia Perrelli (East Lansing), Cassidy Pettinger (Grand Ledge)
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Jeff Lyon (5th season)
Top returning players: Aubrey Hogan (sr. M), Malan Norwood (sr. F), Sara Faverman (sr. M/F), Katelyn Meyer (sr. D), Sophia Perrelli (jr. F), Allie Bradley (jr. M), Patricia Haney (jr. D), Alyssa Klump (sr. D), Mikayla Bergwood (so. D), Kamryn Jenkins (so. F)
Other contributors: Madeline Chomentowski (sr. GK), Bella Ihrig (jr. M), Erin Caldwell (so. M), Veronica Marr (so. M)
Outlook: East Lansing returns 14 players from last season, which includes Norwood, who was injured last year, and hopes to get back Hogan, who was also injured, by mid-season. The Trojans relied on several underclassmen last season, and Lyon said if his team can step up defensively it has the forwards to be “dangerous” in the CAAC Blue.
Last year: 6th
Coach: Juan Dominguez (14th season)
Top returning players: Latasha Mack (jr. M), Taylor Arnold (jr. D), Viola Dagadu (sr. D), Tiara Rogers (so. M), Samantha Gifford (jr. GK), Aubrianna Bowman (jr. D), Timia Robinson (so. M/F), Mary Margaret Bradbury (sr. D)
Other contributors: Lexus Delapal (fr.), Angelica Bermudet (fr.)
Outlook: The Vikings return a core group that has a ton of playing experience. Dominguez believes his team can surprise some teams in the conference, and he added the team’s success will depend on the leadership on the field.
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Scott M. Dane (7th season)
Top returning players: Ayverie Giller (sr. GK), Maddy Trezise (sr. M), Maddie Summerfield (sr. M), Miranda Gale (jr. D), Natalia Chavez (jr. F), Allena Parker (jr. D), Sadie Pettinger (jr. D)
Other contributors: Cassidy Pettinger (fr. M)
Outlook: Dane said the Comets are inexperienced but have “many quality players.” Grand Ledge will return three of its four starting defenders and goalkeeper Giller is back for another year between the pipes.
Last year: 1st
Coach: Aaron Smith (8th season)
Top returning players: Emily Bossie (sr. D), Jessica Cleary (sr. GK), Alexis Hayslette (sr. M), Emily Hulliberger (jr. F), Mackinzie Kuhn (sr. D), Cora Smith (jr. D), Elena Vazquez (so. F)
Other contributors: Elizabeth Ferguson (fr. M), Olivia Hornak (fr. D), Jentre Powell (fr. F), Erin Holt (so. M), Grace James (so. D)
Outlook: The Rams graduated 12 players that won two consecutive CAAC Blue titles, and Smith considers 2016 to be a “rebuilding year.” He also added Holt could play up to five freshmen. Vazquez, a sophomore, and Hulliberger, a junior, are the returning leading goal scorers from last year.
Last year: 2nd
Coach: Darus Ward (2nd season)
Top returning players: Caroline Serkaian (sr. GK), Rachel Dersch (sr. M/D), Anne Major (jr. D/M/F), Nina McAlvey (sr. D/M), Hannah Hughes (jr. M), Skylar Westfall (jr. F), Kailey Peterson (sr. M), Lauren Southworth (so. M), Angelica Dallas (so. M.F)
Other contributors: Bria Telemaque (fr. M/F), Sara Lee (so. F), Veronica Gawarecski (so. D), Sophie Alegi (fr. M)
Outlook: The Chiefs are young but have high expectations, according to Ward. Serkaian, who is committed to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is a three-year goalkeeper and Major is an all-league performer. Okemos will get help from freshman Telemaque, who is an Olympic Development Program national pool player. Ward said Sertkaian, Major and Peterson, who was injured last year, will be pivotal to the team’s success as it seeks a district title.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. DeWitt, 2. St. Johns, 3. Mason, 4. Haslett, 5. Owosso, 6. Waverly
Top returning players: Danielle Stephan (DeWitt), Olivia Trombley (St. Johns), Kali Thompson (Mason), Mackenzie Dawes (DeWitt), Charley Campbell (Haslett), Brianna Bishop (DeWitt), Jessah McManus (DeWitt)
Last year: 2nd
Coach: Jamal Mubarakeh (20th season)
Top returning players: Brooklyn Holly (jr, GK), Brianna Bishop (sr. D), Jessah McManus (jr. D), Madelyn Dickens (jr. D), Katherine Locher (jr. D), Allison Sims (sr. M), Erika Curley (sr. M), Danielle Stephen (jr. M), Mackenzie Dawes (jr. F), Taylor Bishop (so. F), Callee Fisher (sr. F)
Outlook: The Panthers get back three all-state performers, which includes Stephan, who was Division 2 first team all-state as a sophomore. Brianna Bishop was second team all-state and McManus was third team all-state. DeWitt is favored to win the CAAC Red in Mubarakeh’s 20th season as he returns a core group that reached the state semifinals last season.
Last year: t-2nd
Coach: David Littleton (1st season)
Top returning players: Charley Campbell (sr. F), Megan Mowid (sr. M), Anna Sharky (so. D), Abbey Bowman (sr. D), Lilly Campbell (so. D)
Other contributors: Katelyn Bonhaus (jr. F), Cami Harp (so. M), Catherine Surian (so. M)
Outlook: Campbell and Mowid are all-league performers returning for a Haslett team that lost a core group of seniors. Littleton said he’s looking to lead a “talented” group of underclassmen in his first season at the helm.
Last year: 1st
Coach: Christie Hursey (9th season)
Top returning players: Alex Halstead (jr. D), Caitlin Rebera (jr. M), Kali Thompson (sr. F), Marissa Pease (sr. D), Elaine Burleson (sr. M), Whitney Luks (sr. F), Kate McElhone (so. F)
Other contributors: Keara Bullen (so. D), Hannah Chrome (jr. M)
Outlook: After a deep run in the Division 2 postseason tournament last year, Mason brings back a handful of solid performers – despite losing a core group of seniors. Thompson heads a group of seven players that have earned all-league honors. The Bulldogs look to return to the league’s pinnacle after winning the title last year.
Last season: 6th
Coach: Chris Bird (7th season)
Top returning players: Ellie Hood (jr. GK), Caitlin Bensinger (sr. D), Taylor Porter (jr. M), Anna Raffaelli (so. M)
Other contributors: Jennie Ramstad (sr. M)
Outlook: The Trojans look to revamp their squad in 2016 with a mix of veterans, newcomers and exchange students. Hood and Bensinger are Owosso’s captains and, according to Bird, the two upperclassmen will look to lead a “fresh” backline that holds both underclassmen and exchange students. Raffaelli earned league honors last season.
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Kim Brewbaker (16th season)
Top returning players: Olivia Trombley (jr. M), Chelsie Smith (jr. F), Lexi McPherson (sr. D), Abbey Schuelke (jr. M), Kylie Steingreaber (jr. GK), Taylor Warnaar (so. D), Madi Schafer (sr. D), Sydney Padgett (jr. M), Sadie Wilson (jr. D)
Outlook: Trombley, who was Division 2 all-state honorable mention last year, heads a strong core of returning starters for the Redwings. Brewbaker, who could reach 200 career wins this year, believes defense is his team’s top asset as it looks to grab its first league title since 2005. Smith, McPherson and Schuelke were all-conference performers last year.
Coach: Matt Hill (4th season)
Top returning players: Katy Menosky (sr. M/F), Cece Moreno (sr. M/F), Samantha Torres (jr. M), Mckenna Perez (so. M), Sarah Miller (sr. D)
Outlook: With his top goalie from last year gone to graduation, Hill said the Warriors will rely on their backline in 2016. He added that Waverly has a “very skilled” senior class and is looking to challenge opponents on the scoreboard.
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Williamston, 2. Lansing Catholic, 3. Eaton Rapids, 4. Fowlerville, 5. Ionia, 6. Portland
Top returning players: Shannon Crilley (Lansing Catholic), Abigail Gilmore (Lansing Catholic), Leah Davis (Williamston), Grace Kraft (Williamston), Sarah Tuggle (Williamston)
Last year: 3rd
Coach: Jason Zeller (10th season)
Top returning players: Nitasha Cooper (sr. GK), Ann-Marie Wright (jr. M), Hope Hernandez (jr. F)
Other contributors: Erin Prieskorn (fr. M), Carmella McManus (so. D)
Outlook: Zeller said the Greyhounds “have more depth than we have had in a long time” and has a team that consists of four seniors, eight juniors, six sophomores and two freshmen. He added that his team could undergo growing pains early in the season with several new faces. Cooper, Wright and Hernandez all earned all-league honors last year.
Coach: Jill Thomas and Chris Forbush (10th season)
Top returning players: Rachel Clark (jr. M), Erin Vielbig (jr. GK), Ollie Updike (so. M), Alexis Lindig (jr. F)
Other contributors: Jackie Jarvis (fr.)
Outlook: The Gladiators return their leading goal scorer and assist leader in Clark, a junior, and Updike, a sophomore. Thomas and Forbush are looking to build consistency in Fowlerville and “grow” the program.
Coach: Scott Sarka (10th season)
Top returning players: Sara Pullum (jr.), Skyler Randol (sr.), Brooke Kemp (sr.), Megan Graham (sr.), Alizah Blundell (sr.)
Outlook: Kemp, Blundell and Pullum are the captains for the Bulldogs in the 2016 season. Ionia is looking to build from last season and potentially finish in the top half of the CAAC White.
Last year: 2nd
Coach: William Pettit (4th season)
Top returning players: Shannon Crilley (sr. F), Katie Burns (sr. D), Abigail Gilmore (jr. M), Olivia Poupard (jr. M), Claire Smalley (jr. M), Keighen Morley (jr. M)
Other returning players: Caroline Keusch (fr. M/D), Isabelle Poupard (fr. F), Larisa Herdus (so. GK)
Outlook: Crilley, who was all-state honorable mention last season, and Burns, who was all-league, are the only seniors for the Cougars in 2016 and Pettit said his team “will be counting on them for leadership.” Gilmore will play a key role in the midfield for Lansing Catholic and Herdus, a second-year keeper, will be pivotal to the team’s success as well.
Last year: 6th
Coach: Chris Roof (2nd season)
Top returning players: Allyson Robson (sr. D), Jordyn Spitzley (jr. GK), Kaitlyn Kerkove (jr. M), Vivan Walters (so. D)
Other contributors: Mariah Fedewa (fr. M), Maelyn Huhn (fr. M), Mckalyn Zigler (fr. F), Morgan Bowers (jr. D)
Outlook: After only fielding 10 players for most of last season, the Raiders return with 16 players on the varsity roster, six of which are freshmen. Robson and Spitzley were honorable mention all-conference last season. Roof hopes to “build the foundation of a program that has been in slumps for the past few years.”
Last year: 1st
Coach: Jim Flore (22nd season)
Top returning players: Leah Davis (sr. M), Grace Kraft (sr. GK), Sarah Tuggle (sr. M), Allison Schmuecker (sr. D), Madison Martin (sr. D), Kloe Hitchock (jr. M/F), Paige Lonier (jr. F), Kenzie Seaman (jr. D), Allexis Kluzia (sr. F/D), Hannah Kent (sr. F/D), Kelly Canton (sr. D)
Other contributors: Renee Sturm (sr. D/F), Lexi Russell (so. M), Izzy Herb (so. F), Cora Hall (jr. GK)
Outlook: The Hornets return multiple Division 3 all-state honorees in Davis, Kraft and Tuggle. Flore believes his team will once again have a strong season after going undefeated in the CAAC White last year. Williamston has eight players coming back that earned postseason accolades in 2015.
GREATER LANSING ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Coaches’ predictions: 1. Lansing Christian, 2. Leslie, 3. Perry, 4. Stockbridge, 5. Lakewood, 6. Olivet, 7. Maple Valley
Top returning players: Kasey Jamieson (Lansing Christian), Abby Krueger (Lansing Christian), Juliana Figueiredo (Lansing Christian), Brooke Valdez (Leslie), Jenna Chappell (Leslie)
Last year: 5th
Coach: James Leveque (2nd season)
Top returning players: Mallory Durham (sr. F), Carly Bennett (sr. D), Bryeanna Littlefield (sr. D), Alexis Johnson (sr. D), Rylie McClelland (jr. M)
Other contributors: Haven Bosworth (fr. F/M), Karlee Shapley (jr. M)
Outlook: Leveque said the Vikings are young and inexperienced but have “seasoned players at the most important positions.” Durham has over 50 career goals and Leveque said she might be the fastest player in the league. Lakewood will have to rely on its youth if it plans on contending for the league title.
Last year: t-1st
Coach: Joel Vande Kopple (10th season)
Top returning players: Kasey Jamieson (so. F), Juliana Figueiredo (jr. M), Lina Moore (sr. M), Jessie Krueger (so. M), Alex Hanks (so. GK), Lydia Sprague (jr. D/M)
Other Contributors: Abby Krueger (jr. D), Abby Lyon (fr. M), Kealeigh Usiak (fr. D), Ally Melvin (fr. F), Rilyn Ross (fr. M/F), Eliza Lewis (fr. M), Natalie Krueger (fr. D)
Outlook: After finishing as the Division 4 state runners-up last season, the Pilgrims return a core group of players, which is headed by Jamieson, who was first team all-state as a freshman. Lansing Christian will replace its entire defense, but Vande Koplle said he has a “plethora” of talented girls to step in. Figueiredo was all-league last season.
Last year: t-1st
Coach: Jacob Derby (2nd season)
Top returning players: Brooke Valdez (jr. M), Presley Seavolt (sr. D), Hailey Conine (sr. F), Taylor Losey (jr. F), Jenna Chappell (so. F), Brooke Cowing (so. M)
Other contributors: Madison Snow (so. D), Bailey Akers (jr. D)
Outlook: The Blackhawks captured the program’s first league and district titles last season, and they’re looking to continue to build off that success. Conine was all-state honorable mention last year. With a young team, Derby said “we are looking toward leadership to push us back to another district and league title.”
Last season: 7th
Coach: Richard Seume (3rd season)
Top returning players: Shala Kikendall (so. D/GK), Kelia Hamilton (sr. M), Sequoya Fighter (jr. D/M)
Other contributors: Cassie Linn (fr. M/F), Alexis Perez (so. D)
Outlook: The young Lions will undergo another “learning season,” according to Seume.
Last year: 4th
Coach: Katherine Kuzma (7th season)
Top returning players: Alex Eibler (sr. M), Makayla Gradowski (sr. D), Savannah Torrey (jr. D), Faith Whitt (so. M), Madie Gee-Montgomery (so. M), Autumn Aiken (sr. GK), Shelby Hall (so. MF)
Other contributors: Paige Brown (fr. D), Madi Howard (so. F/M)
Outlook: Eibler, who holds the school record for most goals scored in a season, leads a Panthers team that returns its core group from 2015. Stockbridge has two exchange students from Germany and welcomes five new underclassmen to the varsity roster. Kuzma said her team’s future looks bright, as it has only seven upperclassmen.
Last season: 2-7-1 (No league)
Coach: Jordan Parks (1st season)
Top returning players: Lindsey Brown (sr. F/M), Clayr Owens (sr. D), Sydni Metzmaker (so. M), April Svendson (sr. D)
Other contributors: Olivia Jubb (fr. M), Tait Hosford (fr. F), Hannah Zaldivar (fr. GK), Mia Larner (fr. F/M)
Outlook: With no junior varsity program, the Bath varsity roster holds 18 players. Parks said his team has been learning to play with intensity and communication. He added that the team is looking to improve each week.
Last season: 7th in Interstate-8
Coach: Ryan Sisco (18th season)
Top returning players: Lindsey Carlson (sr. M), Makala Brzezinski (sr. F/M), Cassie Cotter (jr. D/M), Lizzy Phillips (sr. F/D), Allie Brown (sr. D/F), Amber Palmatier (sr. F/D), Rachel Myers (jr. D/GK), Kylie Smith (sr. GK), Erin O’Brian (sr. D/F), Emily Friar (jr. D), Cassie Cotter (jr. D), Anna Rudnitsky (jr. M/F/GK)
Other contributors: Ashley Beck (fr. F/M), Wilma Labor (jr. D/M), Claudia Quintela (so. M/F)
Outlook: The Orioles lost a large number of players to graduation, but return two all-league performers in Carlson and Brown. Sisco said his team is looking to lay the “foundation for success” this season.
Last season: 6th in GAC
Coach: Brandon Wagner (5th season)
Top returning players: Mystique Kalat (sr. M), Mekkah Kalat (jr. D), Natalie Keenan (sr. D/M), Aly Kim (jr. M/F)
Other contributors: Ila Tuller (fr. M), Jana Rau (sr. D/M)
Outlook: Wagner returns to the Corunna sideline after coaching from 2009-12. He said he believes the Cavaliers will start slow this season as they look to establish a new identity and mindset. Rau is an exchange student from Germany.
Last season: 13-2-1 (No league)
Coach: Scott Belanger (5th season)
Top returning players: Megan Essenburg (sr. F), Sara Lancour (sr. F), Sophie Wilsey (so. D), Cassidy Ballard (so. D), Emily Soeltner (so. D)
Other contributors: Olivia Graham (fr. M), Megan Hendley (fr. M), Georgia Hill (fr. M)
Outlook: Essenburg and Lancour are four-year varsity players who will lead a Wolfpack team that ushers in nine freshmen. Belanger said Laingsburg is trying to improve on the progress it’s made over the past four seasons.
Last season: 1st in TVC Central
Coach: Craig Thelen
Top returning players: Courtney Cabral (sr.), Riley Caswell, Kira Keifer (jr.), Shaye Lintemuth (sr.), Courtney Loynes, Devin Taylor (jr.), Taylor Spencer (jr.), Makenna Vincent, Megan Walter (jr.)
Other contributors: MacKenzie Cunningham, Kianna Henning, Alyvia Hurst, Summer Rademacher, Kennedy Scott, Kylie Sevenski, keegan Trefil, Emily Troxel
Outlook: Despite losing some key pieces, Thelen said he thinks the Marauders’ total team approach will “prove to be a winning formula.” O-E loses experience and Thelen added his side needs more experience playing together. The Marauders have won three straight league titles.
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.