TUPPER LAKE - Tupper Lake girls soccer coach Russ Bartlett is looking forward to the fall sports season.
Barlett believes he has a talented and well-rounded team. Combine that with a schedule that features schools its own size, and Barlett sees a recipe for success.
"Definitely as much talent that I've had all at one time," Barlett said. "It's possible that there's been better individual players that have come and gone in the past but this is the best team."
Tupper Lake coach Russ Bartlett talks to his team during a recent practice at the high school.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
The schedule wil be a little easier than in past years because of a league realignment in Section X. The Lumberjacks are now in the East Division with schools their own size as opposed to playing larger schools in the Central Division.
"I think we should be able to contend in the division we are in," Bartlett said. "There are tough teams in that division, though. I mean, Madrid Waddington has always been at the top of the Cs in Section X. Chateaugay is in our division, and they always seem to come out of the (Class) Ds on top."
Bartlett said that eight of his 11 starters from last year are returning.
Kelsie St. Louis
On offense, Tupper Lake has three forwards who have played together for several years in Christine Kelly, Katie Stuart and Skylar Trivieri.
"I think the thing about the three of them that I've never seen before here is they all have played together long enough that they complement each other really well," Bartlett said.
The defense will be anchored by Carley Aldridge, who made the first team all-Northern squad last season.
In goal, the Lumberjacks will have Kelsie St. Louis, another returning starter. Sam Sanford is another strong defender coming back from last season.
The only thing this team seems to lack is depth. There are only 15 players on the roster, and three of them are out until mid-September because of injuries and other reasons. That means the bench is thin and players will have to learn more than one position.
But Bartlett said that could be a postive because it will make for a more versatile team.
"The thing I'm looking forward to is with those numbers, you sort of have to be able to play everybody in every position, and I think ultimately over the course of a season, that makes everyone better," Barlett said. "If a defender knows a midfielder's job, because they've done it, it makes them a little bit better defender."