Head coach: Kellie Palmer (third season). Assistant coach: Courtney Caswell.
Last year: Wheeler finished 1-6-1 and lost in the first game of the regional tournament, 1-0, to St. Bernard.
Returning to varsity:
Seniors: Addie Hauptmann (GK), Katelyn Melinosky (MF, captain), Maddie Perkins (MF, captain). Juniors: Eva Comeau (MF), Ava Davino (F), Brooke Dowrey (F), Keelan Groves (D), Marissa Perkins (D), Peach Schroeder (D). Sophomores: Naomi Boord (D), Leah Cleary (D), Stella Mastrioanni (F), Katie Pierce (MF-F).
New to varsity:
Senior: Norah Chapman (F). Junior: Danyelle Coffey. Freshmen: Bella Deledda (D), Katheryn DelGrosso (F), Lauren Glaza (D).
Outlook: Last season, Wheeler scored eight goals in eight games and six of those game against Grasso Tech.
That has to improve this season and Palmer knows the first thing that can help make that happen.
“We have to take shots. They need to be a little more selfish,” said Palmer, who scored 62 goals in an All-State career at Stonington High. “We are making opportunities, but not executing. I am moving people around to generate more opportunities.”
Dowrey, Davino and Bresnan will be up front. Comeau, Maddie Perkins, Melinosky and Pierce will be in the midfield.
“Brooke [Dowrey], Katie [Pierce] and Katelyn [Melinosky] have worked really hard. They all have,” Palmer said. “Teaching them the game was the most important thing. I think we can work the ball around and keep possession. Now, we need to score some goals.”
Defensively, the Lions were very solid last season. They allowed 16 goals in nine games, but nine of those were in a pair of losses to Plainfield (4-0, 5-1). Hauptmann is back at keeper. Cleary, Boord, Schroeder and Marissa Perkins will play in front of her.
Coach’s take: “We want to win. We would like to have a winning season. I want the hard work they have been putting in to pay off. ”
— Keith Kimberlin