By Becky Walz,
The Decorah girls’ soccer team is focused this season.
The Vikings are looking to transfer hard work and talent into a winning mark for 2022.
Leading the way is head coach Loren Hendrickson. He is in his fifth season at the helm of the program.
Just short again
With a strong group of eight returning letter winners, the Vikings of 2021 had an up and down season, finishing with a 9-6 record.
The start of the playoffs was a rematch of an early-season game between Independence and Decorah, with the Vikings claiming the first-round game 4-0. In the Class 2A Region 6 semifinal, Decorah fell behind minutes into the competition versus Waverly-Shell Rock, eventually ending early by the 10-goal walkover rule.
Graduating from that squad were Sofie Grouws (academic all-state), Isabelle Kingsbury, Anja Madsen (academic all-state), Abigail Milburn (academic all-state), Kaia Neal (academic all-state), Clara Rooney (academic all-state), Taryn Sanderman and Payton Taylor (academic all-state).
Decorah is back with authority in 2022, led by its nine letter winners. At the top of the list is senior goalie Grace Bachelder, who had 150 saves last season.
She is joined by seniors Karen Henriquez and Mikiah Krieg, along with juniors Isabella Bishop, Amelia Dugger, Ella Grouws, Madison Heim, Grace Neal and Ellen Rooney.
The veterans will be joined by juniors Ada Lovelace, Kylie O’Hara and Thea Schissel; sophomore Gabi Dixon and freshman Amelia Wadsworth.
However, if one thing is a concern it is the loss of seven vital starters to graduation.
“We will need many people to step up into major roles,” said Coach Hendrickson. “I’m looking at this as a rebuilding year and hope that some of the younger players will rise to the opportunity and excel. I hope they surprise me.”