ARLINGTON — Last season was a rebuilding year for the Arlington girls soccer team.
Now in year two under coach Aaron Wood, the Eagles are looking to continue to build off the success they had at the end of last season.
"Last year was a rebuilding year for us, so this season our expectations are higher than they were last season," Wood said. "We saw a lot of success from our team as the year went on last season, so we're looking build off this year and hopefully have a great season."
The Eagles have a young but very experienced group of players returning in 2016, Wood said.
The list starts off with senior captain Riley Lane who will be a key player for Arlington in both the midfield and on the back lines for defense.
Next to Lane is fellow senior teammate Elizabeth Fischer who will play either as a outside or midfielder backer for the Eagles.
The senior duo are then joined by a core group of juniors that will make up a huge part of the team, Wood said, in Aimme Frank, Gracie Smith, Jamie Keel and Katie Berger.
Frank is one of the most versatile players on the roster for Arlington this year and will be used in a variety of ways on the field this year, Wood said.
Smith and Keel will be strong players for the Eagles on the back line as defenders, while Berger is expected to be a solid outside backer in midfield.
"We're young, but we have a lot of experienced players coming back who we expect to be much improved from last season," Wood said. "A lot of our girls are two or three sport athletes, so we have a lot of athleticism on our team and we have a lot of girls that like to compete."
Adding to the Eagles' youth movement are freshman Hailey Mattison and Lilah Ward who will both step into starting roles for Arlington this season, after performing well at the end of last season.
"I expect both Hailey and Lilah to step up and be key players for us this season," Wood said. "Both girls have really shown great improvement in camp and hopefully both will continue to progress for us throughout the season."
Wood is joined by his father, Dan, as co-coaches for the team, and they have focused much of their training camp on getting their team to communicate better as a unit on the field.
Since the team plays in a league during the summer and most of the girls play sports year round, Wood believes the team is physically ready to start the season, but need to focus on the mental aspects of soccer and get better at playing together as a team.
"Our goal this year is to possess the ball more, so getting better at communicating as a team together on the field and being able to string more passes as unit," Woods said. "A lot of our girls are very active all year long with playing multiple sports, so their athletic and physical shape is where we want it to be to begin the season. We just need to focus on getting a better team knowledge of the game of soccer before the season begins."
As for the team goal for this year, Wood an Arlington graduate himself, said that because of Eagles' great history in soccer, a state title is always a goal in Arlington but he does say that goal for the team should be trying to improve day-by-day.
"As a team, we definitely have higher aspirations this year because of the confidence we build from our success at the end of the season last year," Wood said. "If we can continue that trend this year and be a better team by year's end, it will be a successful year for us."
Arlington opens up the season on the road against Proctor on September 3.