David Cook
Sports Scene
Ranked in the top 15 in the state in Division 3, the Freeland soccer team has started the season strong and is looking to carry that momentum on to the state tournament at the end of the season.
Freeland has fashioned a 6-1-2 overall record as the calendar turns into May. The two ties came against state-ranked teams Frankenmuth and Essexville-Garber with the loss coming against Linden.
“The season is looking great so far,” said Freeland coach Autumn Kloha. “The effort, drive, commitment and attitude the girls have is amazing. They all work very well together. I believe we have a well-bonded team this year with determination and drive from each individual to do our best as a team. There is still so much work to do and always room for improvement. This team has so much potential to be even better than they already are. I am also proud to say that I have a deep bench with lots of talent.”
Freeland is paced by a talented mix of seniors and sophomores this season. Senior center midfielder Paige Kloha is off to a strong start with three goals and three assists through the first six games. Senior outside back Haille Martinez-Hines has added one goal.
A talented group of sophomores are also making an impact. Center midfielder Cessaly Fichtner has totaled five goals. Center back Mia Nietzke has one goal and an assist while center midfielder Reese Conlee has one goal. Sophomore keeper Adelyn Senkowski is providing strong play in goal.
A commitment to teamwork is a key to success for the squad so far this season.
“The strong points that I have noticed from this year’s team is that they all work very well together,” Kloha said. “It is hard to have a group of girls who do not always play together and expect them to bond and adapt to each other’s playing styles. We have worked a ton on communication and positioning this year and I believe that is one of our top strengths. I would also have to say that our defensive line and defense all around is very solid. We are also blessed to have multiple athletes who are fast and can anticipate play.”
Kloha is in her first year as head coach of the team and having a squad that values teamwork and pulling together has been a huge benefit.
“I would like to say that with this being my first-ever year as a varsity soccer coach, I am grateful for the way the girls have adjusted,” Kloha said. “It is not always easy for players to adjust to a new coach. This group is truly special and the work ethic and potential they hold not just as athletes but young adults is astonishing. They all have very bright futures ahead of them if they continue to put in the work.”