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Star-studded Oilers have huge potential in 2017

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Having a superstar or two helps no matter the sport.

But having a balanced team full of stars provides a better blueprint for success.

One year ago the Mt. Pleasant High School girls soccer team won a Division 2 district title and advanced to the regional round for the second time in three years by riding the play of superstars Hannah Kahn and Madilyn Brown. During her prep career Kahn scored 42 goals and had 30 assists before becoming a member of the Western Michigan University women's team. Not to be outdone Brown, who now plays at Grace Bible College, tallied 34 goals and 14 assists as an Oiler.

While replacing 76 goals and 44 assists from last few years to this one might seem like a daunting task it's a task the 2017 Oilers are ready to tackle because John Bunting and company have a roster full of stars.

"Thing is we have relied on a lot of great talent in the last couples years," said veteran coach Bunting, whose 2016 team went 16-5-1. "But I think we can be more proficient this season because of the way we move the ball around. Everyone is much more technical and more sound so we're moving the ball around more which is giving more people opportunities."

In Monday's 8-0 mercy-rule win over Flint Carman-Ainsworth the Oilers kept coming at the Cavaliers in waves in a non-stop offensive onslaught.

"We're going to see a lot of different scorers on this team versus relying on one or two to carry the load," said Bunting. "Right now we're still sorting that out, who goes where, but longevity-wise it allows you to be a deeper team that can potentially go on a deeper (postseason) run. When an opponent can put a great defender on one or two of our girls that can shut them down. But it's harder to shut down a team that can come at you from every angle. We're starting to recognize that when we move the ball a lot of people are going to get the opportunity to score."

Of the 15 players on the Mt. Pleasant roster there are nine or 10 legitimate scoring threats. This coupled with a veteran defensive backfield of seniors Kaelyn Maurer, Jordyn Mullikin, Emily Odykirk and star goalkeeper Ally Wentworth should make the Oilers a tough draw every time out.

"It's been an exciting season so far because we've been playing so well as a team," said Wentworth, who will play soccer at Alma College starting this fall. "There have been bumps, like not clicking as fast as we'd like to offensively and some injuries, but I feel like we have a really good team, especially on the defensive back line where we have a ton of experience."

On paper the Oilers are in the Saginaw Valley League conversation along with Midland, Midland Dow, Bay City Western and Flint Powers.

"It's very competitive and hard to say who the favorite is," said Bunting of the SVL. "Last week we beat Bay City Western 3-0 then they tied Midland High who beat us 3-0. Dow had a tie with Powers who beat Midland High so there's three or four teams towards the top. I expect the race will start to take shape in the next couple weeks."

Whether the Oilers win the SVL title awaits to be seen, yet they also have another goal which is getting through regionals for the first time in program history. Again, Mt. Pleasant has played in regionals in 2014 and 2016 only to come up short. Now they want to take the next step.

"It's simple, we want to win a regional title," said Wentworth.

Last Updated: 5/3/2017 3:48:39 PM EST