BOLINGBROOK — Last week's blast of winter weather dealt a blow to girls soccer coaches hoping to get a look at their teams on outdoor fields.
That wasn't the case for Bolingbrook coach Martin Uscila, and not just because the varsity players shoveled the field so the Raiders could get three days of outdoor practices in.
"This team isn't a whole lot different than the team we had last year," Uscila said. "I've kind of known this team for a while."
In midfielders Caroline Harvey and Andrea Sanchez, forward Rachel Schneider, defender Nikia Smith and keeper Karissa Jones, the Raiders should have a solid backbone down the middle of the field. It will also be the third year Bolingbrook has run a 4-2-3-1 formation, so not only is Uscila familiar with his players, but his players are familiar with the system.
"We should be better at it this year because we have the players to do it at key roles," the coach said.
Schneider will ostensibly be the attacking forward, though Uscila plans to try and move Smith, who has already committed to Northwestern University, to different spots on the field, including in the attacking third of the field. Offense will be a team-wide affair.
"Rachel, we're going to run a lot of the offense through her," Uscila said. "But because of our system, everyone is going to be part of the offense."
The Bolingbrook program has improved to the point to where finishing with a .500 record or better is expected. This season, Uscila would like to see his team take more strides forward.
"I think our goal now that we've sort of progressed is to compete with and beat teams like Lockport, Sandburg and Homewood-Flossmoor," the coach said. "Those three teams finished ahead of us in conference last year. Those three teams are traditionally powerhouses, so how we play against them will be a measuring stick for us and how we do in conference."
TEAM AT A GLANCE
Coach: Martin Uscila
2012 record: 12-8-1
Caroline Harvey so. M
Karissa Jones sr. GK
Joselyn Padilla sr. F
Andrea Sanchez sr. M
Rachel Schneider jr. F
Nikia Smith jr. DPromising newcomers:
Tyler Holmes fr. D