When Scot Etling took over the Cuyahoga Falls girls soccer program last year, he knew he was looking at a full rebuilding project.
The results from 2015 bare that out. Falls finished 2-14, 0-7 in the Suburban League National Conference.
Not only that, but Falls managed only seven goals on the season and was outscored 58-0 in National Conference play.
"Those teams are pretty darn good," Etling said of the conference.
Thus, entering his second season, Etling knows the Black Tigers have nowhere to go but up. He notes the team's effort in the offseason has been excellent.
"We had the kids working literally all winter," Etling said. "They are markedly improved and playing well. Our goal is to be competitive this year. Last year, we were not. We need commitment to the program and the team. That's all we can ask for."
One positive sign for Falls is the program actually had to make cuts this year. Etling had 41 girls try out and there are 35 playing between Falls' varsity and JV teams.
"They're more educated about the game. They know what they're doing now," Etling said. "They're also playing together as a team. They push each other and that's what we're after."
Kevin Alleyne returns as Falls' junior varsity coach, while Etling's daughter, Jordyn Etling, will serve as goalkeeper coach.
While Etling notes there will be adjustments, Falls' base formation this year will be a 4-1-2-3 with two attacking midfielders.
Falls lost four seniors to gradation: defender Kate Lukosavich, midfielder Abi Stratton, midfielder Hannah Bartlette and defender Autumn Ashbaugh.
After spending last season on the JV squad, junior Erin Huber will get the nod at goalkeeper.
Returning at defender will be senior Rebecca Leiter, who is a four-year varsity player.
"She's our speed," Etling said. "She chases down everything."
Etling called junior center back Tori Rogers "a good complement" to Leiter, as she provides a bit more phyisicality.
Junior Megan Sawyer and senior Marissa Kassinger look to have the edge to start at outside back.
Sophomores Samantha Curtis and Madison Walters will provide depth on the back line.
"All of our midfielders are, by far, the most in shape," Etling said. "They have good first touches as well."
Etling will lean on junior Hannah Lynch to be the anchor at defensive midfield, as he will look for her to win balls and distribute them.
In front of Lynch, senior Emily Stratton, junior Katie Robinson and freshman Kaylie Ward will see most of the time at the central midfield slots.
Freshmen Ashley Miller and Kaitlin Wilson will provide depth in the midfield.
At moment, Etling will start junior Leslie Sawyer at left forward, junior captain Isabel Barton at center forward and junior Chloe Stratton at right forward.
Falls was set to open the season Aug. 19 at Streetsboro, but results were not available at press time.
Falls will travel to Apple Creek Waynedale Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. before playing its home opener Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. vs. Louisville.