After falling just short of a Woodland Conference championship a year ago, the New Berlin Eisenhower girls soccer team should find itself in the mix for a league title again this season.
The Lions return 10 starters, including six All-Woodland players, from last year's team that finished 13-7-3 overall and 9-1-1 in conference play, second place behind Wauwatosa West.
Eisenhower then went on to win its second regional title in three years with playoff wins over South Milwaukee and Greendale before falling in the sectional semifinal to New Berlin West in penalty kicks.
"We hope that the established chemistry will help us remain competitive," Eisenhower coach Nick Datka said. "We have a very balanced offense and defense."
The Lions will be led by three first-team All-Woodland selections, including junior forward Kayla Jedrzejewski, who led Eisenhower in scoring last season with 19 goals and four assists.
Additionally, senior midfielder Claire Popp and junior defender Alyssa Stuckart return after making the first team in 2016.
Second-team All-Woodland picks senior forward Emma Grellinger (9 goals, 6 assists) and sophomore Payton Fuerstenberg and honorable-mention selections in junior defender Hannah Plockelman and junior goalkeeper Ava Seifert (11 shutouts) also are back for the Lions.
Other returners include junior midfielder Grace DeRome (5 goals, 1 assist), junior midfielder Anna Evans (1 goal, 6 assists), senior defender Gwen Gasper, sophomore forward Izzy Kittson (10 goals, 1 assist), senior midfielder Meghan McNerney, junior midfielder Grace Stadfield, junior midfielder Emma Torres, senior midfielder Maddie Waring and senior defender Chloe Yocks.
The Lions will have to replace honorable-mention defender Sara Farrell.
"We need to become more creative in the offensive third to create better scoring opportunities," Datka said.
Tosa West won the Woodland Conference title last season at 10-0-1, followed by Eisenhower at 9-1-1 and Pewaukee at 9-2-0. Shorewood was fourth at 8-3-0 and New Berlin West took fifth at 7-4-0 but went on to the sectional final.
The same five teams are expected to be at the top of the conference again this season.