The defending West Division champs in the Woodland Conference, the Lions, are coming off of a 15-1 conference season, 24-4 overall.
The Lions were regional champs but lost the sectional final to Waupun, 5-4.
Returning to lead the Lions are second-team all-state and Now All-Suburban catcher Ali Nowak(.481 batting average), infielder Andrea Leder(.383, 31 RBIs) and outfielder Riley Rossbach, all seniors, and junior Erica Buechel(.333, 19 RBIs).
Seniors Carolyn Bonnema(C-IF), Chloe Janich(IF), Stacey Grabowski(IF) and Nicole Dorshorst(IF-OF); juniors McKenna Hietpas(pitcher-OF) and Ashley Brown(IF-C); and sophomores Meagan Loewus(OF) and Anna Lang(P-OF) are others who should help out.
'We should have strong senior leadership and a high-quality assistant coaching staff,' coach Jeff Setzsaid. 'Those are our strengths. Defense will be something we need to get better with.'
New coach Nick Datkawill have a young but experienced girls soccer team to deal with this season at Eisenhower.
The Lions were 7-2-1 in the Woodland Conference last year, but 8-10-1 overall, going 1-8 outside the conference.
'This is a very young team that has lots of soccer experience,' Datka said. 'I anticipate competing with the top half of the conference. We play a very tough non-conference schedule that should help prepare us for the upper-level teams in the Woodland, as well as the postseason. Our objective is to work hard at every practice and compete in every game. If we can get something positive out of every soccer experience that we have this season, it could be a special year.'
The Lions will be led by all-conference defenders Sara Farrell, Gwen Gasperand Claire Popp,and Kayla Jedrzejewskiwas an all conference attacker.
Other returning letter winners include Meghan McKerney, Alyssa Stuckart, Emma Grelinger, Sarah Rolefson, Grace DeRome, Maddie Waring and Caila Bachmann.
Datka also said Anna Evans, Payton Fuerstenbergand Emma Torresshould see significant playing time. Emma Grellingeris returning from injury after leading the team in goals as a freshman and missing most of last season.
The Vikings were 17-10 overall last spring and 10-6 in the Woodland West, and they have tons of talent returning for coach Greg Klotz.
'This year, we bring back 10 starters (four seniors, five juniors, and a sophomore), including two pitchers,' Klotz said. 'These 10 players bring a combined 16 seasons of varsity starting experience. We only add two utility players, who will push our returning starters.
'This team is self-motivated and confident. They were not satisfied with 17 wins last year knowing that there were five or six games they were a hit or play away from winning. They put a lot of work in with their travel teams over the summer and fall. Once school started, they were in the weight room a few times a week, and our 12 open gyms all had regular attendance by our players.'
West has 10 returning starters, led by second-year rightfielder/catcher Charolette Ropas(junior), a first-team all-conference and all-Woodland outfield selection rightfielder/catcher (.438 BA, 21 runs, 28 RBI) and second-year pitcher Cheyenne Sowinski(sophomore), a first-team all-conference and all-Woodland Utility player (.382 BA, 28 RBI, 21 runs, 1.40 ERA, 45 innings, 62 strikeouts, 12 BB, 32 H).
Other all-conference returnees are third-year catcher Riley Farrell(senior), a second-team all-conference coach; second-year shortstop Katey Devine(junior), a second-team all-conference selection (.375 BA, 21 runs, 14 RBI); and third-year centerfielder Maddie Minik(junior), a second-team all-conference outfielder (.300 BA, 9 RBI, 26 runs).
Other key returnees are senior Hannah Giammarco, a third-year first baseman; senior Leah Marrari, a third-year second baseman (.316 BA, 22 runs); senior Abby Stoltenburg, third-year leftfielder (.339 BA, 19 runs, 16 RBI); junior Camryn Klotz, second-year third baseman (.370 BA, 14 RBI, 16 runs, led team in steals); and junior Monica Lauerman, a third-year pitcher (1.04 ERA, 30 innings, 36 K, 9 BB, 27 hits).
New varsity players are junior Bri Duszynski(IF/OF) and sophomore Andrea Stephens(C/IF).
'Our strength will be in our pitching,' Klotz said. 'Monica Lauerman and Cheyenne Sowinski with provide us with solid innings. Our pitchers can both steal a game against anyone. They are both better than a strikeout and inning pitcher.
'Our expectations are high, and we have raised the bar.'
MUSKEGO BOYS TRACK
The 4x200-meter relay team of Ayden Malcomson, Keith Kamer, Sam Sadowskiand Austin Hewittplaced eighth with 1 minute, 35.8 seconds at the Madison West Relays on April 2.
That group provided the only point for the Warriors, who finished 27th.
Levi Leonardcame in 11th in the 800 run (2:13.5), Harrison Foss12th in the 3,200 run (10:28.23), Sadowski 13th in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches), Adam Kierzek14th in the 1,600 run (4:53.62), Hewitt 16th in the 55 hurdles (8.26 seconds) and Jorin McGuire16th in the shot put (45-2 1/2).
The Warriors will compete in the Classic 8 Conference Indoor Meet at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 9, at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
First-year girls coach Coach Matt Dragowill have 12 returning letter winners from last season's 11-11-4 Vikings squad, which finished sixth (5-4-2) in the 12-team Woodland Conference.
Leading the pack will be all-conference players Morgan Henrichs(first-team), Courtney Stephens(second-team) and honorable-mention selections Alyssa Pastrich, Jenna Linssen, Aubrey Tarmann and Ewelina Schlomann.
Also back are Leah Mushall, Kayla Moran, Lily Adkison, Anna Bennett, Abby Groendaland Molly Austad.
Newcomers to watch include Emily Ehrmann, Sammie Lundin, Hanna Kroupa and Mary Moczulewski.
'I am looking forward to a great year with a new coach,' team Pastrich, a team captain, said. 'We are ready to work hard and dominate the field. We have a strong team this year, and I have high hopes. Being a senior is bittersweet, but I know this will be the best year yet.'
Drago, who also coaches the boys soccer team, is looking forward to his first season with the girls.
'They had a good season last year, and all of the coaches are looking forward to building off their past success,' he said. 'We are fortunate to have the players that we do and are looking forward to pushing them throughout the season.
'In short, it's an honor to be a part of this team, and I cannot wait to work with this group in the months ahead.'
— Compiled by Tom 'Sky' Skibosh and John Rech