GREENFIELD — The 2021 record is deceiving.
Greenfield-Central finished 6-10 last season. Two of the losses were in overtime and six were against teams ranked in the Top 10.
Gaining experience and learning how to deal with adversity, a huge number of last year’s letterwinners could be poised for a much better 2022 campaign.
Coach Brandon Steeno believes so.
“A lot of the girls that are back got a ton of minutes last year,” Steeno said. “We picked up some really nice rotational players. We’re set up to compete in every single game this year.”
It’s a big change from 2021.
“Last year, we really had to game plan for teams because we weren’t as deep as we would have liked,” the coach said. “This year we get to just play our game and we’re going to compete in every single game and that’s exciting for us.”
The Cougars return four All-Hoosier Heritage Conference players. Senior midfielder Sarah Contreraz led the team in scoring last season with six goals and three assists. Senior defender Courtney Vaughn is back after a four-goal campaign. Jessica Merritt, a junior, is a returning all-conference goalkeeper. Kalyn Moss, a junior defender, is another all-league returnee.
Senior midfielder Cora Bishop, who has committed to play for NAIA school Mt. Vernon Nazarene, is another key veteran back for 2022.
The list of impressive returnees is long.
Gladys Rodriguez Trujillo is a senior that had three goals and three assists last season. Steeno also expects to see more from sophomore Alyssa Deckard, a midfielder/forward who had four goals and one assist last year.
There will be newcomers to help, as well. Freshman Paige McCarley scored both of the teams goals, on assists from Vaughn and Moss, in the Cougars 2-1 win over Decatur Central in the season opener.
Another newcomer expected to help is sophomore Chaney Brown, a standout from G-C’s girls basketball program.
Steeno believes, with the high number of talented newcomers and veterans, his team will not have to rely on just one player to do all the scoring.
“Cohesiveness is our strong suit,” he said. “We can go 18 deep, if we had to, so there’s a healthy competition at practice to earn playing time. We’ve not had that in the past.
“We could win conference. We could win the sectional. The potential is there. It’s going to be the growth. We have to take that next step.”
The Cougars are 1-1, after a 3-0 loss to Roncalli, and will play host to Mt. Vernon Monday at 7 p.m. It is the HHC opener for both teams.