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Girls soccer: Randall takes over a FHS team ready to win

Traci Randall is inheriting quite a team this fall.

The first-year head coach is taking over a Farmington girls soccer team that returns 15 letter-winners — including four all-conference performers — from a squad that won a program-record 12 games last season and made it all the way to the section championship game.

Ultimately, Randall would like to get the Tigers back to the section finals and give them another shot at a state tournament berth.

"We are coming back this year with determination and dedication. Anything is possible with this group of girls," she said. "With a strong work ethic and a strong defense and tough and tough goalie, we're going to be hard to score on. We're playing game by game, but our ultimate goal is to go farther than we did last year. I think that is always the goal."

That level of optimism seems justified considering the Tigers return varsity players and at least one all-conference honoree at all four positions. At the forward spot, honorable mention selection Hannah Miller (four goals, five assists) and Kelli Elmer (six goals, four assists) head up a group that also includes scoring threats Destiny Schmitz (three goals, four assists), Kelly Kormnann (four goals) and Rachel Welzin.

All-conference performer Izzie Ferm leads the Tigers at the midfield position. She's joined by an experienced group that includes Kenya Macias, Sarah Zak, Kali Allard and Emily Johnson.

Defensively, the Tigers will count on all-conference selection Kayla Kucala to set the tone. Megan Graham and Nicole Doran also return with varsity experience.

The team's last line of defense will once again be goalkeeper Ashley Becker, who earned 10 shutouts last fall and stopped 125 of 140 shots. Marissa Muelken backed up Becker last year and is among those expected to contend for the role again this season.

"Becker makes everything look easy. She has good vision and focus on the ball, is not afraid to come out on breakaways and is smart under pressure," Randall said.

The team could also be bolstered by a ninth-grade group who had lots of success as a U15 team in the South Metro Futbol Club.

"The group of girls all played together and I believe fell just short of premiere status for next year," she said. "They look good and will be a bunch to watch for the years to come."

Randall said her players have done a great job adjusting to the changes in the coaching staff this year. She is one of three new coaches guiding the team this season.

"The girls have held it together the last few weeks, allowing the adults to transition into their new positions," she said. "I think a key to success will be making improvements on our technical skill which will help us with our overall tactical game.... Team chemistry is good and our morale is high this year. I expect great things."