Zuliani greets 24 to first week of practice as Lady Bucs hope to keep success rolling

Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jackie Zuliani (far right) directs a drill during a Lady Buc practice session Friday on the turf of Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium. Zuliani welcomed 24 players to practice this week.

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur girls soccer team put a near wrap on the first week of practice on Friday as head coach Jackie Zuliani welcomed 24 players to camp.

With the loss of six talented seniors from last year’s 9-4-1 team, Zuliani was in the process of evaluating a team looking to replace over half of their starters this week.

“This year with so many new faces, we wanted to evaluate each player and see what their strengths and weaknesses are,” noted Zuliani. “We want to see where they can fit into our system and how they can make the team as strong as possible. We also want to work on fitness and getting in shape. A few came in ready, but we have several who need to get in better shape.”

Zuliani stated with the start of the new year, it’s an open slate for each player and for each position to be filled.

“Every year is a new year and we start off with a clean slate,” remarked Zuliani. “Of course we look to fill holes from those we graduated last year, but no one has a starting position.  They have to earn it and show us they want it and want to be anywhere on that field to help the team.”

Zuliani said this first week was also for getting her new players adapted to the high school game.

“As always we want the girls to work hard at adapting to the high school game,” she stated. “It’s much faster and we play much more possession. We stress touch and accurate distribution.  We want to maintain possession as much as possible.  The middle school game is much different.”

The Lady Bucs went into their first day of practice on Monday without much of a gap between their summer flex practices, which Zuliani said went well.

“The flex days went well and we had good numbers,” commented Zuliani. “We took 18 to the 7v7 in Fairmont and divided them by seniors and juniors on one team and sophomores and freshman on the other. Both teams did well. The senior/junior team were runners-up in the 16 team tournament.”

Current B-UMS girls’ head coach Bob Greenough is assisting Zuliani with her August practices.

“I am very excited to have Bob Greenough join me this season,” stated Zuliani. “He has a love for coaching soccer and it shows. He is very knowledgeable with many years of coaching experience. We both are competitors, but we also want the girls to have fun. He has done a great job with the girls and I am excited to work with him this season.”

The Lady Bucs will wrap up their first week today with a Blue/White scrimmage and then will get their first taste of action next Saturday as they visit Hurricane for a scrimmage at noon.

“We are excited to get started and see how people will contribute,” concluded Zuliani. “We have big holes to fill, but we have people who can move right in there.  We will be young, but we have girls working hard and improving already. We have our starting front line back which is huge. So hopefully we can build up our back line and center midfield and we should have a successful season.”

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