Tonight marks the start of the 2013 St. Louis Park Oriole soccer seasons as they host the Alexandria Cardinals. Here's a preview of the Oriole boys and girls soccer teams.
It could be an outstanding season for head coach Chato Alvarado and the St. Louis Park boys as a number of players back from last year's team who lost in the Section 6AA final to Minneapolis South. The two schools will have a regular season rematch September 28 in St. Louis Park. The Orioles have 10 seniors, including Luke Von Eschen, Brian Shrestha and Samuel Casey. Also returning is sophomore goalkeeper Eric Hendricks.
The key for Chato's bunch this season is to utilize experience and leadership and also get through a tough three game road stretch in September when they play at Park Center September 7, Totino-Grace on the 10th and North St. Paul on the 12th.
On the girls side, the big question that head coach Benji Kent might be trying to answer is how can you replace a player as outstanding as Lauren Miller? Miller, a six year starter for the Orioles, graduated and is now at North Dakota State was the motor to the team's offense. Her departure creates a major scoring void but can it be filled by veteran players such as seniors Lauren McManus and Kelsey Taterek.
This is also a young Oriole team, with seven freshmen. Who will step up and bring respectability and offense to this year's team. Which of the freshmen will emerge as a scoring threat?
Also worth noting, backup goalkeeper Amy Schulz also is a member of the girls basketball team and Elena Basil, along with her sister Anna are members of the girls hockey team.
The best of luck to both teams on opening night.