WALLA WALLA - When a team ends its season with a championship of any kind, some may immediately ask, "What will you do for an encore?"
In the case of the Walla Walla Community College women's soccer team, their encore was claiming a second consecutive NWAACC title last fall.
Though his 2011 roster of 21 players features 13 freshmen, coach Chad Bodnar believes this group is also capable of accomplishing special goals - like a ninth straight East Region crown and another championship-type run.
"We've got some good kids," Bodnar said. "We have a lot of freshmen. The (2010) sophomore class that we had has graduated and moved on. Many of them are playing elsewhere.
"Up top (on the pitch), we've got questions to answer and need to decide who's going to fit those roles," Bodnar said.
The head Warrior has a key contingent of booters returnin, including forward Kaylie Winston, center-midfielders Sami Hansen and Ali Skogrand, backs Heather Krebsbach and Sam Johnson, and goalie Courtney Hancock. All are sophomores except Skogrand, who is a redshirt freshman.
"Kaylie will score a lot of goals and set up a lot of goals," Bodnar said of Winston, who ranked fourth in the NWAACC last season with 18 goals and dished out seven assists. "Heather and Sam played almost every minute for us (in 2010). They're solid kids."
Hansen and Skogrand suffered knee injuries last season. Hansen went down early in the campaign and Skogrand was sidelined before the season commenced.
"It will take Sami and Ali a while to get to 100 percent, but they're both solid," Bodnar said.
Hancock participated in about half of the Warriors' matches last fall and is looking good thus far, Bodnar said.
"She's looking fit and strong," Bodnar said. "She's been looking good in camp.
"The core is there, but we have questions about the freshmen and how they'll fit into our 4-3-3," Bodnar said."
Freshmen who hope to come in and provide answers to the questions are center-back Kahiesha Johnson (Hanford), a Class 3A all-state pick and Big Nine Most Valuable Player in 2010, Southridge sisters Paige (center-midfielder) and Meghan Sorensen (midfielder or back), Boise products Peyton Moon (forward), Kat Knowlton and Marie Monasterio (both midfielders), and Payette, Idaho's Jordan Rodriguez (forward).
Johnson had accepted a scholarship to NCAA Division II New Mexico Highlands before coming to Walla Walla. The Sorensens played for a 2010 Suns' team that reached the Class 3A state semifinals.
"Paige and Meghan will contribute quite a bit," Bodnar said. "Peyton, Kat and Marie are looking to find spots and contribute. They are talented, but need to get used to the collegiate level. Jordan has a lot of athleticism and strength. She's raw technically and needs to sharpen some things.
"We have a talented group, but we have a long way to go," Bodnar said. "It's going to take time to mold. We've spent a couple of weeks getting fit. The talent is there. Now we need to refine it."
Looking at the East Region, Bodnar noted the race for the title has perenially come down to a scuffle between his Warriors, Columbia Basin and Spokane. Whether that pattern holds remains to be seen.
The Warriors open their season Wednesday in Tukwila against Bellevue.