Senior Alina Yazek, sophomores Rachel Mirwald and Lily Waxenberg and freshman Maisy Nevins are the four Verona Area High School representatives looking to make an impact with the Madison Metro Lynx co-op this season.
Yazek had two goals and three assists in 17 games last year, and second-year coach Mike McKersie is looking for her and the rest of the team’s seniors to lead the way.
“We are hoping to be more competitive than last year,” McKersie said. “Overall, our team is very young and inexperienced at the high school level. We are looking to our captains and seniors to help bring a young set of players up to speed.”
The Metro Lynx lost just six seniors to graduation and return 17 letterwinners from last season’s squad that went 10-13-2 overall and 5-4-1 (third out of six teams) in the Badger Conference.
“The two strongest teams in the conference are the Cap City Cougars and Rock County Fury,” McKersie said. “They return as the favorites. Neither team lost a lot to graduation, so they will be strong again.”
McKersie noted goaltending and defense as strengths of this year’s team with sophomore Camryn McKersie in net and Jenna Culp, Josie Dragoo and Ava Downing as defensemen.
Camryn McKersie was an honorable mention all-conference honoree last season. She finished in the top 10 in the state in save percentage (.920) and goals against average (2.29). She made 64 saves against Brookfield for her first high school win.
Culp, a junior, had six points (two goals and four assists) last season. Mike McKersie is expecting Dragoo to improve as a senior captain after recording five points (one goal and four assists) as a junior.
“Last year, we relied on our defense and goaltending too much,” Mike McKersie said. “Giving up the fourth-most shots in the state last year was a dubious honor. Our goaltenders were really put to the test and performed great.”
Senior forward Abby Ahlborn is another captain expected to lead the offense. She posted a team-high nine goals and six assists last season.
Mike McKersie also pointed to two seniors new to the program — Sydney Raaths and Hannah Kolpien — as potential impact players on offense.
“Both are strong skaters with a good hockey IQ and scoring ability,” he said. “Their experience will be very beneficial.”
The Metro Lynx open their season Sat., Nov. 23, at the Mandt Center in Stoughton against the Icebergs co-op. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.