PARKERSBURG-After serving as the team's assistant coach, Ron Bucholtz finally gets his chance to lead the Parkersburg South Patriot girls soccer team into action as its head coach when the team travels to Charleston Catholic for an 11 a.m. clash today.
"I've been coaching soccer for quite a few years," explained Bucholtz. "I lived in Louisiana and coached for about 10 years-two of it with a travel or club team and the other eight as a high school coach."
Bucholtz's first head coaching assignment in the Mountain State has him taking over a Patriot program that lost its leading scorer, Kari Simon, its leader in assists, Mary Wilson, as well as two of its top defenders in Alex Shaw and Taylor Williams.
"We graduated a solid five players," said the coach. "People say that we are in a bit of a rebuilding year, but we've also brought in 12 new freshmen and a lot of them have played for a number of years.
"And, from what I've seen so far, I'd say that it is not as much of a rebuilding year as it will be a reloading one."
Returning starters include senior Allyson Brezler, juniors Kaitlyn Miller and Emily Brezler and sophomore Taylor Life, who was a part-time starter a year ago. But, that doesn't mean that the Patriots won't have a lot of experience on the pitch.
"We have a lot of juniors who were sophomores last year and we have a lot of sophomores who were freshmen," added the coach. "Many of them played either on the varsity or junior varsity team and got a lot of experience."
One of those is junior Lyndsay Jones, who was the leading scorer for the junior varsity. Other new faces that the first-year coach is expecting big things from include junior midfielder Lexi Smith, Monica Stanwick and Kristen Offutt.
Defensively, Parkersburg South appears to be strong as juniors Meredith O'Bara, and Carrie Miller as well as sophomore Julie Church will team up with the Brezlers to give the Patriots a solid prevent unit in front of first-year keeper Kristen Jones.
"I think we will be pretty solid defensively," said Bucholtz. "If our scrimmages are an example of what we can expect, we did not allow a goal. The key is going to be for us to play possession ball.
"We won't be as fast, although we aren't slow, or big as some of the teams that we are going to face so we are going to have to possess the ball as much as we can and make them chase us."
Parkersburg South makes its home debut against Two River Athletic Conference rival John Marshall at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23.