Like all the other Class 4-1A girls soccer teams, Rose Hill aspires to capture state this year.
With 10 seniors returning from last year’s third-place finisher for coach Jerry Treat, that wouldn’t seem to be an unreasonable goal. However, with the state tournament to be played on Rose Hill’s home field, the pressure to not only reach state but win it makes the coach a bit uneasy.
“I’m not really excited about hosting state,” Treat said. “The boys hosted state in 2008, so we know what it’s like.
“They know it’s going to be tough, but that’s all right.”
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When a team is the host for state, they’re expected to be a participant, Treat said.
“It would probably be a bit of a relief if we make it,” he said. “It’ll be a disappointment if we don’t – there’s a lot of pressure.”
State runner-up Topeka Hayden is the preseason favorite, followed by defending champion St. James Academy, which edged Rose Hill 2-1 in the 2011 semifinals en route to the title. Treat said those schools’ depth is as good or better than his team’s.
Experience will not be an issue for the Rockets (15-5 a year ago). Rose Hill’s senior contingent includes forward Kalyn Pfaff, who scored 41 goals in 2011 and was one of four Rose Hill first-team All-Class 4-1A selections.
Pfaff, who moved to Rose Hill as a sophomore, has spent three years in the Rockets’ system, and is one of three leaders on the team, along with midfielder Olivia Hull and defense-midfielder Mikayla Fisher. Hull had nine goals and nine assists last season, and Fisher had five goals and four assists, earning both all-state recognition.
Another all-state selection returning is senior Miranda Raevsky, who had two assists and 20 goals a year ago.
One of the seniors expected to carry a heavy load is goalkeeper Makenzie Smith, who sat out last season because of an ACL injury. Treat said she has come most of the way back, and will be relied upon to shoulder the load in goal.
“She has worked pretty hard,” Treat said of Smith. “She looks pretty good, but she’s really tough on herself — which is typical for a goalkeeper.”
Helping on the back line will be senior Lauren Arndt.
“She’s a hard-nosed little player,” Treat said.
What the Rockets need to do, Treat said, is pretty simple
“Stay focused and avoid bad luck in the postseason,” he said.
He said he’s looking forward to Friday, getting his team some game experience.
“It gives you some feedback that you can’t get in practice,” he said.