Chugiak girls look to make state run

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 20:00
Mustangs strong even without services of departed standout Cobb
Eagle River’s Jackie Klecka (13) tries to get past Chugiak’s Holly Brehmer during the teams’ 1-1 tie on April 26, 2011 at Tom Huffer Stadium. Kleckan and Brehmer are both key returning players for this year’s soccer squads, which began their 2012 season on Tuesday, March 20.

If Chugiak’s girls soccer team is going to return to state this year, the Mustangs will have to do it without standout Kelly Cobb.

The 2011 graduate now plays for Duke University. In her first year, Cobb led the Blue Devils to the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament championship Dec. 4, 2011, where they lost 1-0 to Stanford. Cobb finished the season with a team-high 11 goals and 31 total points — both freshman records at Duke.

It’s impossible to replace a talent like Cobb, third-year head coach Paul Brehmer said. The team will have to adapt to her absence, he said.

“It changes your game plan,” Brehmer said. “Everybody has to step up a little bit. It just has to be that much more of a team effort when you lose a player like that.”

Brehmer said 36 players make up the varsity and junior varsity squads. With a lower turnout than last season, the Mustangs won’t be fielding a C team, he said.

Fourteen on are the varsity roster, Brehmer said, but he plans on adding two to three JV players to the team.

Returning seniors Becca Zellers, Elyse Perez, Kayla Mays and Sue Fleurant have an abundance of varsity playing experience between them, Brehmer said. Zellers has been a strong keeper for the Mustangs, he said.

“Becca’s done a good job in the goal,” Brehmer said.

Everyone on the field will be integral to the Mustangs’ success this season, Brehmer said.

“All 11 of them are going to be key players,” he said.

The team was eager to play its first match of the season against Bartlett on Tuesday, March 20, Brehmer said.

“Everybody’s excited about getting started,” he said.

Chugiak opened its season with a dominant 12-0 win over Bartlett on March 20. Sue Fleurant and Catherine Jorgensen each had a hat trick and Holly Brehmer and Jessi Beverlin added two each.

Chugiak plays East on Saturday, March 24 at 1:15 p.m. at the Dome before facing Dimond on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Dome.

After beating Dimond 1-0 to claim the Cook Inlet Conference title last year, the Mustangs lost to the Lynx in a shootout in the semifinals at state.

Chugiak — the only local team to advance to the state tournament — lost 2-1 to Juneau-Douglas in the third/fifth place match.

The team wants to return to state this year, Brehmer said.

“That’s definitely one of our goals,” he said.

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