By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – The numbers are not in Bedford North Lawrence’s favor.
With a short-handed roster that makes full-field scrimmages impossible, with key preseason injuries, with an offense that required a booster shot, the Stars face challenges as they prepare for the 2019 campaign.
BNL’s roster totaled 20, before junior striker Katherine West was lost for the bulk of the season with a left-knee ACL surgery. She’s one of two Stars in mend mode, so 11-on-11 practice work doesn’t add up. BNL second-year coach D.J. West, with his daughter one of the injured, is already adjusting.
“We’re struggling with that,” West said. “Getting enough girls out there to get done what we want, it’s hard to do 11-on-11 with only 18 girls. So we’re putting it in piece by piece and we’ll fit it all together when we go against another team.”
Without West on the field, with an offense that found the net elusive during the 5-8-1 season a year ago, the pressure for production falls on senior scoring leader Jennifer Ramirez. Her speed and skill will attract attention.
“It’s going to force us to change a few people around,” West said. “We’ll ask Jennifer to get higher up the field and create mismatches with her speed. She’ll be able to give the defense fits.”
Defense was BNL’s strength last year, and that shouldn’t change with junior goalie Hannah Riester in back of a wall that includes Adrian Collins, Makena Moore, Claire Nordhoff and Lois Kinser. West will count on that as he shifts the offense to a more aggressive style to create extra chances.
“That was our big thing last year,” West said. “We were competitive in all the games we played, but we struggled putting the ball in the back of the net. So we’re doing a different system this year, because I feel we defend pretty well.
“We’ll play a more pressing style and create more opportunities with more numbers forward. Hopefully that creates more goals in the end.”
The Stars will open the season on Aug. 17 at Silver Creek.