TENNERTON – There isn’t much lacking from the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Buc soccer roster as they wrapped up the first week of practice.
An early look at the roster shows plenty of varsity experience, depth and a lot of youth as well.
Head coach Jackie Zuliani’s Lady Buc roster shows 27 players with six seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and 11 freshman.
Zuliani said having her experienced players build on their talents and introducing the newcomers to the program were the objectives of the first week of practice.
“For the returning players, we want to build on their experience and knowledge and work toward the ultimate goal of reaching the state playoffs,” stated Zuliani. “We have to learn from our mistakes and work one game at a time to be ready for the post season. We have a large freshman group. We want them to understand how our program is run and also introduce them to high school soccer, which is quite different from middle school. They are the future of the program and they can contribute just as much as any of the older players.”
Last season the Lady Bucs posted a 12-5-4 record without a senior on the roster.
Despite not losing a player to graduation and all but one varsity player returning this season, Zuliani said that every spot on the team is open.
“I look at each season as a new start,” stated Zuliani. “Anyone can win a starting role or earn varsity playing time and anyone can lose it as well. Players change from season to season for different reasons, but to be successful you have to be fair and make everyone earn their spot. Many different factors tie into this, so it is wide open for anyone.”
Like every other team in the state, the Lady Bucs are abiding by the guidelines set by the state and WVSSAC in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has only been a few days and I am tired of being the mask police!,” noted Zuliani. “But we just have to make the team realize how important it is to follow the guidelines. It is not just about them and they need to do their part to protect their families, community and state.”
Being stuck in one of the toughest regions in the state, the Lady Bucs were unable to move out the sectional tournament after a 2-1 setback to Morgantown last year.
Zuliani is hopeful this year’s team will be able to advance past the regional and earn a state tournament berth.
“I would hope most coaches, when given a team with the ability to win a state title, will do what they can to get as close to it as possible and hopefully attain it, but there are many more things a team must have to win a state championship,” remarked Zuliani. “The old saying, “There is no I in TEAM” says it perfectly. The girls have to think of the team in their daily soccer interactions and if they can do that, this could be that season where something special happens.”
Joining Zuliani on the sidelines once again this year will be assistant coaches Will Squires and Sam Nolte.
The Lady Bucs will open their season Sept. 2 when they host Hurricane at 4:30 p.m.