A new era begins in Carson High girls soccer begins next Tuesday afternoon when the Senators visit Reno (3:30 p.m.) to start the Division I season.
Greg Lehman has replaced Randy Roser, who retired after leading the Senators into the state tournament last season, and he's inherited a talented team with nine full-season returnees, including defender Shannon Flaherty, defender Alissa Hayes, keeper Emmy Heller, dynamic midfielder-forward Kenzie Tillitt, defener-midfielder Jamie King, midfielder Jamie Perez-Galvan, midfielder Kiahna Pimental, midfielder Michelle Sandage and midfielder Chantal Torres.
"We have a good group of girls returning," said Lehman. "We also have some new faces that will be able to contribute right away either starting or coming off the bench.
"One through 15 there isn't a huge dropoff. It gives me a lot of options."
The newer faces include defenders Katherine Leist and Lindy Lehman, Mayra Olivares, Karla Reyes-Reza, Michelle Sandage and Bailie Zuber.
Lehman likes and believes in versatility, which means you may see a lot of shifting around between midfielders and forwards from game-to-game or even in the middle of games.
It's a good strategy, especially in case of injuries. You need to have the ability to work in different combinations.
"That's been part of our training," Lehman said. "It's all starting to come together. You can see a difference."
In Heller and Tillitt, Lehman has two of the top players at their respctive positions in Northern Nevada. In fact, Heller and Tillitt are arguably the two best keepers in Northern Nevada. Tillitt is headed to the University of Colorado, and she was recruited as a keeper.
"Emmy is going to be the goalie and Kenzie is going to play in the field," Lehman said. "Emmy is a real strong keeper.
"Kenzie is really positive about it. She's excitd to be in the field for her senior year."
And, Lehman knows that he has nobody that can dominate a game at midfield like Tillitt. The 5-5 Tillitt is like greased lightning, slithering through the opposition with the greatest of ease.
"Kenzie will play a key role," Lehman said. "She's an all-around good player. She is a gam changer. I don't think the team revolves around her. We have a lot of capable players."
Tillitt can do so much that players tend to stand around and watch after she gets the ball. Lehman said that has happened a few times during training sessions and he put a quick stop to that.