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2012 Fall Preview: Defending section champion Woodbury girls soccer team ranked sixth

Andrea Lenartz is one of 13 seniors on Woodbury's roster this season.

Despite losing nine players to graduation - four of whom went on to play Division I soccer - the Royals return reloaded for 2012-13.

Woodbury boasts 13 seniors on this year's roster, including standouts Kristina White, Andrea Lenartz, Marisa Olsen and Lisa Huska.

The Royals head into the season with a No. 6 preseason ranking, according to a Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches Association poll.

"Our strength is we have seniors," said Woodbury co-head coach Bill Ebertz. "Being their last year, they want to do well."

The team is captained by seniors Bailey Lervick, a midfielder, and White, a forward.

Ebertz said the Royals - who reached the state quarterfinals last year behind a 17-3 regular season record - present good speed on offense. Key among those players will be White and Huska, a player who qualified for the state track meet in hurdles.

"There's some good speed up top," said Ebertz, who coaches alongside co-head coach Pat Malicki.

Ebertz said an early concern this season was whether defensive players would stand out after losing standout defenders Maddy Trebesch and Emily Erickson to graduation.

That's left Woodbury to establish a defense composed mostly of new faces.

The result? So far, so good, Ebertz said.

"They've looked really good in scrimmages," he said. "Once they get used to each other, they will be very solid."

Woodbury looks to be bolstered by midfielders Madison Gaffney - a returning varsity player - and junior Aaliyah Danielson, who emerged late last season.

"They look good together," Ebertz said.

Freshman Kim Taplin, a forward with the ability to play midfield, could also make an impact, the coach added.

Senior Liz Sampson returns to goalkeeping duties.

Sizing up the Suburban East Conference, Ebertz figured East Ridge, White Bear Lake, Mounds View, Stillwater and Park to be among the top contenders. He named East Ridge, White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi and Hill-Murray as early favorites in Section 4AA.

The Royals opened action last weekend in a tournament in Duluth. They return to action at home on Tuesday, Sept. 4, against Edina.