Mikaela Malott lines up at sweeper or midfielder, with Becca Mundell at stopper or midfielder. Brittany Miller and Rachel Manfred are wing defenders and both can move up to midfield spots. Ciera Harden can play as a central defender or wing defender. Brooke Stout is back in goal after missing most of last season due to injury.
All of the above are seniors, except Evenson, a junior.
“I’m very pleased with what we have. I don’t think we have any holes on the field and have had a couple nice surprises [with new players],” Chris Rees said.
The new coach said his squad’s defense should be particularly stout with a host of interchangeable seniors in those spots. The Comets have won 38 games the past three seasons, a trend he expects to continue.
“These girls know what it takes to win, they know what it takes to play at a high level,” Chris Rees said. “They’ve had good training. They really put their nose to the grindstone. They seem to like each other and they like to play together.”
The Purple Tigers welcome a new coach in former Kokomo standout and Nicholls State player Elkins. She takes over a squad that finished 14-3 last year. It’s her first venture into coaching.
“I wanted to coach because I played soccer up through college and I really enjoy the sport, but I came to the point where I saw that life was bigger than sports,” said Elkins, who was Samantha Bledsoe when roaming the field for Kokomo. “The opportunity came to invest in these girls and that’s why I took it. We are about excellence and being for each other and really working together.
“When I came and found out about the program and spoke to the athletic director [Dan Armstrong] it was just a really good fit. I was really glad to hear what they saw as important and what their philosophy was.”