Lady Bucs hope to build on recent success this year

TENNERTON – Dodging rain drops and maneuvering between inside and outside practices, the Buckhannon-Upshur girls’ soccer team wrapped up their first week of practice Friday afternoon.

“The weather was just awful this past week,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jackie Zuliani, who beings her sixth year as head coach of the Lady Bucs. “As all other coaches have stated, this much rain during the first week is uncommon. We had to go to plan B some days and even plan C at times due to where we could conduct practice.  The girls adjusted well and had a great week whether we were practicing in the gym, on the turf, or on grass or in mud.”

Zuliani and her staff welcomed 29 players to camp, a number that has her pleased.

“We are very happy with the large turn-out,” said Zuliani. “We expected a higher number being familiar with the freshman class because I have been watching them for years play with my daughter Cameron. We are excited to have this many girls to work with. It is also great to be able to have a full junior varsity schedule which we were unable to have last season.  I really don't feel there is a perfect number, but larger numbers allowing us to have a junior varsity squad will only benefit our program and make it stronger.”

Zuliani said she used the first week of practice to evaluate her talent.

“We used our first five days for evaluation of our players and identifying their strengths and weaknesses, but most importantly how they can help the team become the best it can be,” stated Zuliani. “Also, getting to know the new players on a personal level and getting everyone to bond and become a team.  Players can be strong alone, but can be unstoppable if they make decisions on the field about the team rather than themselves.”

The veteran coach also stressed style of play to her team this past week.

“Implementing our style of play and stressing the importance of a first touch and possession is always important work on the first week,” remarked Zuliani. “As a coach you can always work on these aspects because you can never have too good of a touch or ability to control a ball. There is always room to get better. Everyone needs to trust and believe in themselves, their teammates, coaches and we can have a great season.”

Like any coach during the preseason, keeping her team injury-free is of the utmost importance.

“Injuries are always a concern so we hope to keep everyone healthy,”  Zuliani said.

Joining Zuliani on the sidelines will be third-year assistant coach Sam Nolte along with a return of Will Squires, who was previously with the program before taking a couple of years off to finish graduate school.

The Lady Bucs, coming off a 10-8-3 record last season, will begin their 2018 campaign Saturday, Aug. 18 when they entertain Brooke.

“We are very pleased with the effort this week,” concluded Zuliani. “Our new players have adjusted very well and are working hard. We hope everyone will stay together as we begin the season and when on the field will do the best for the team!  We feel we can have a very memorable season and can't wait til our first game!”

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