PARKERSBURG - Third-year Parkersburg High School head girls soccer coach Kristen Schreiber is hoping her youthful Big Reds can mature from the start of the season to a championship caliber style squad before sectional play begins in late October.
A year ago, the red and white finished 12-6-2 and were eliminated from the postseason after falling to Wheeling Park in overtime during the sectional final.
"It's a strong section," Schreiber said of the Patriots, Brooke and the rival Patriots of Parkersburg South.
"We're still trying to get a feel for our roster and what best suits our team at this point in time."
Although that might be the case, PHS is scheduled to begin its campaign at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Tri-C fields against Mountain State Athletic Conference foe Woodrow Wilson.
Always trying to adapt a scheme which best fits her players, Schreiber said PHS will experiment early on with various formations such as the 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3.
PHS Girls Soccer
Schedule and Roster
* Freshmen: 4 Rylee Stauffer (MF), 8 Kelley Kupfner (F), 12 Madi Gwynn (MF), 13 Rylee Boggess (F), 17 Molly Powney (MF), 18 Nilum Patel (MF)
* Sophomores: 1 Lauren Taylor (F), 3 Halie Hill (F/MF), 5 Kenzie Hickenbottom (D), 9 Taylor Hunkele (F/MF), 14 Abby Johnson (MF), 16 Lauren Rinehart (D), 21 Lauren Leaman (D), 27 Sunni Terosky (GK)
* Juniors: 0 Mallory Craft (GK), 2 Quinci Taylor (D), 10 Jess Rogers (MF), 11 Dani McCay (F), 23 Kristen Kupfner (F)
* Seniors: 00 Taylor Beckley (GK), 6 Kacy Harmon (MF), 7 Kailey Cox (D)
* Aug. 24: Woodrow Wilson (at Tri-C), 11 a.m.; Aug. 27: at Cabell Midland, 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 29: Huntington, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 31: at Parkersburg South, Noon
* Sept. 3: at Hurricane, 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 5: St. Albans, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 7: at Spring Valley, Noon; Sept. 10: South Charleston, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 12: Nitro, 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 17: at Winfield, 6 p.m.; Sept. 19: Parkersburg South, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 21: Wheeling Park, 4 p.m.; Sept. 24: at Capital, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 26: Riverside, 7:30 p.m.
* Oct. 1: at George Washington, 7:40 p.m.; Oct. 3: Princeton, 6 p.m.; Oct. 8: at Ripley, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 10: Brooke, 7 p.m.
"It just depends on how well we play," said Schreiber, who is being assisted by Maggie Ohneck.
The Big Reds feature only three seniors on the roster - keeper Taylor Beckley, defender Kailey Cox and midfielder Kacy Harmon. Beckley and Cox will be joined as tri-captains this year along with 11th-grade midfielder Jess Rogers.
"The team picked the tri-captains," said the coach. "The two seniors really stepped up and Jess showed a lot of leadership in the offseason."
Sophomore Taylor Hunkele, who will play as a forward and in the midfield, is the top returning goal scorer for the Big Reds.
No position is guaranteed for PHS, which also has the services of keepers Sunni Terosky and Mallory Craft.
"Taylor will be the starter, but the other two keepers have stepped up and Sunni has really challenged Beckley for the starting job," Schreiber added.
"I think we will be a lot like we were last year. We have a lot of flexibility and a lot of players who are capable of producing goals and assists. I think it will be spread around again."
Dani McCay, a defender in 2012, has moved to forward. She will be counted upon heavily along with Hunkele and Abby Johnson to produce.
"We're going to be young again this year," Schreiber admitted. "I think we are going to be a little deeper than we were last year."
Harmon also will be helped in the midfield by both Johnson and Halie Hill. A trio of freshmen - Molly Powney, Rylee Stauffer and Nilum Patel - give PHS plenty of options in the middle of its attack.
It appears five players are competing for a quartet of spots in helping protect the keeper. Aside from Cox, the Big Reds have Lauren Leaman, Kenzie Hickenbottom, Quinci Taylor and Lauren Rinehart.
"I'm really excited to get the season started," Schreiber continued. "I think we are going to be really competitive this year. I hope."