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Lady Spartans Driven To Return To Sectional Finals

When Rochester native Doug Kircher first took over the job of girls’ varsity soccer coach at Williamsville North, he only planned on staying for three, maybe four years.

Now, at the start of year number nine, Kircher is still going strong. So what keeps drawing him back and willing to make the daily commute to and from the Flower City?

There are a few reasons. He loves the game. He loves coaching. Most of all he loves the girls’ that put on Will-North green and gold and he wants to keep going through the soccer wars with them.

“I’ve been really lucky to coach good players,” Kircher said. “It’s always nice to have some good players who have very good soccer skills, who wanna learn and work hard. That and I just like coaching.”

Taking over in the 2008 season, under Kircher the Lady Spartans have fashioned one of the most impressive playoff runs in Section VI history as they made it to the Class AA title game seven years in a row, winning sectionals in 2010 and ’11.

But that streak came to an end last season as Will-North fell in the Class AA quarterfinals and finished 8-7-2 overall.

Back with a new season, no fear motto the Lady Spartans are driven and determined to return to the finals. Leading the way will be captains Katie Bodie (senior/goalie), senior forward Elli Stafford and junior midfielder Maya Palmer.

The Lady Spartans had a chance to test their game legs in a scrimmage against Nichols School on Aug.24. Obviously saying that there is always something they can improve on the Spartans felt that as whole the scrimmage set a good tone for the rest of the season.

“It felt great,” Stafford said. “I love the chemistry on the team and I think my (fellow) captains can agree, I think this is gonna be a good year.”

Still feeling the pain of that early exit in 2015 Palmer, Stafford and Bodie know that its up to them to keep the team focused so that they don’t suffer the same fate in this year’s playoff chase. A big part of righting the ship starts with the basics of playing hard until the final whistle. Something the Lady Spartans confessed they didn’t always do last season. “I feel like last year we didn’t push every game, because we lost a lot of seniors last year so we’re a new team,” Bodie said. “Every league game is going to be a tough game, but if we keep pushing and work hard in practice it should be a good season.”

Knowing full well that there is never an easy night in ECIC I, Will-North will be counting on a strong supporting cast to compliment its captains.

Candace Kasahara will control the midfield, while forwards Samantha Diamond and Kayla Bailey will be counted on to score.

There is also strong sense of togetherness as the girls’ are ready to leave it all on the field for each other.

“Oh of course,” Palmer said, when asked about team bonding events. “We had one before this game (against Nichols). Big pasta (dinner). Lot of pasta. So we’ll have one before each game.” Kircher said he could not be more proud of the way his captains have taken charge from Day One.

“They’ve shown great leadership,” Kircher said. “They definitely want to improve over what we did last year. Two of them are seniors so this is their last chance. So they definitely want to improve on last year’s results.”

Stafford sparked the final statement that all three captains said in unison.

“We want finals.”

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