East Mountain High School’s girls soccer team finished with a respectable 8-8-1 overall record last season, and with practices now in full swing and the first game of the 2019 campaign a week away, head girls soccer coach John Sabrowski said his team is ready to pick up where it left off last year, and maybe even take things up a notch.

“I think we’ll be a little stronger than last season,” Sabrowski said. “I’ve got basically all the starters from last year.”

Last season East Mountain won five of its first six games and went on to earn a berth in the 1A-3A state tournament as the as No. 8 seed. It was the best the team had performed since 2015 when the Lady Timberwolves went 15-6 and made it to the state playoffs as the No. 7 seed.

Though last year’s squad lost in the first round of the playoffs, Sabrowski said the returning players are coming into this season a year older, and a little bit wiser.

“I think [last year’s] experience is going to give them a little more confidence,” he said.

The Lady T’Wolves have their work cut out for them, starting the season with two challenging matches on the road at the Taos tournament. They’ll play six of their next seven games on their home pitch, but several will be against tough opponents, including Santa Fe Prep, Portales, and a rematch against Robertson—the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year—on Sept. 18.

The Lady T’Wolves also play in a tough district against Hatch Valley and Socorro, who finished last year ranked No. 4 and No. 2, respectively. East Mountain went winless against both schools last season.

“In district we basically bombed out,” Sabrowski said.

But Sabroswki said this season he hopes to fare better against his team’s district foes and he’s very excited about his crop of freshmen.

“All three are good, talented players,” he said. “They have fantastic speed and skill.”

Sabrowski said that last year was more of a building season and this year the team will be more competitive, noting that he believes the skill is there.

“Overall, I’m feeling excited,” Sabroswki said. “I don’t wanna be overconfident but I’m feeling pretty good about the season.”

East Mountain kicks off the season Aug. 23-24 at the annual Taos tournament, facing Navajo Prep followed by Class 4A Taos.