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Aurora

New coach Isham ready to win



2011 Big Foot/Williams Bay soccer schedule - (HOME GAMES IN CAPS) April — 11: at Kenosha St. Joe's. 14: JEFFERSON. 16: ROCK VALLEY/SOUTHERN LAKES CHALLENGE. 18: at Monona Grove. 21: EAST TROY. 26: ELKHORN. 28: at Evansville. 30: at East Troy Invite. May — 5: WHITEWATER. 7: at Elkhorn Invite. 10: at Clinton. 13: CAMBRIDGE. 19: PALMYRA-EAGLE. 21: BADGER. 26: at McFarland. June — 2: WIAA regionals.
April 06, 2011 | 08:28 AM
Walworth — Annie Isham isn't your typical first-year coach.

It's like she was born to do this job.

Isham has coached the Geneva Lake United Soccer Club for 15 years, including U12 and U14 girls for the last five. So in December, it was only natural when she became the Big Foot/Williams Bay girls soccer coach, a spot vacated by Marcus Nolan.

"It was the perfect step for me," she said. "I've been working with a lot of these girls since they were 8 years old. I was delighted to get the job and couldn't wait to get started. I'm ready, and I wanted to challenge myself. I thought I could do a few things better for the program. I'm really excited for the season and the future."

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Isham inherits a club that was 10-8-2 overall last season and 5-2 in the Rock Valley Conference. Big Foot lost in the regional final to East Troy, 3-0. But Isham will have to lead the squad without last year's top two leading scorers, Becca Hobbs and Kirsten Halma. Also, the Chief Dogs said goodbye to versatile defender Annie Rasmussen.

A new coach brings new changes, and Isham is no different. She will implement a new style that will focus on possession and balanced scoring.

"It's a different formation than we're used to," Isham said. "Because we lost Hobbs in the middle of the field, we will run two center/midfielders and play a possession game. We hope to hold the ball and work on our attack. It will take the girls some time to learn. The scoring will be spread out, and we will rely on our passing."

Stephanie Tadje is the team's lone senior and the unquestionable leader, according to Isham.

"Stephanie Tadje has a ton of speed, and I hope for her to score," Isham said.

Isham added the team will feature a "very strong group" of 11 returning juniors who have all been together since they were freshmen. This bunch will be led by midfielder Alex Martin, forward Morgan Sutich and defenders Brittany Sutich and Lindsay Mazur. The Chief Dogs will also welcome back junior Brittani Isham, who was out last year with an injury.

"Brittani is currently battling a foot injury, but she will be back soon," coach Isham said. "She is a key defender and a team leader."

Joining the returning crop will be newcomers Katie Pearce, a junior goalie who Isham called a fabulous keeper. Also, freshman center/midfielder Schyler Isham is expected to provide some scoring punch. Coach Isham added that Martin and Morgan Sutich along with any other midfielders will be expected to score.

The team's bread and butter will be its defense.

"We are returning our entire starting defense," coach Isham said. "It will definitely be our strength. It could be challenging to score and learn our new system, so I'll be happy with a 1-0 win."

The Chief Dogs finished second in the Rock Valley a year ago behind McFarland. Coach Isham said McFarland will be the team's toughest opponent again this year.

"I don't think first or second in conference is unreasonable," coach Isham said. "We hope to play as far into June as possible and make sectionals."

Big Foot opened its season Tuesday at Delavan-Darien. The Chief Dogs will return to action Monday at Kenosha St. Joe's. Isham said it could be a learning process for her girls early in the season.

"We will move some girls around while we're learning our new formation," Isham said. "It might not be pretty at first, but we are building toward the conference season and postseason. I'm looking forward to working with the girls. They are great girls and have a lot of energy."

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