After being one of the more experienced teams in 4A soccer the last couple of seasons, youth is being served for the Laramie Lady Plainsmen in 2018.

With the new season on the pitch underway, the roster features many new names and faces. In fact, there’s just as many freshman as seniors on the squad, with five in each of those classes. There’s also more underclassmen (9) than upperclassmen (8).

That’s not deterring the excitement of seventh-year head coach Kim Whisenant, who says they’re really young, but she’s excited about the future of the kids and the program.

“The older kids like Lindsey (Meyer), Hope (Gonzales), Sekoya (Romero) and Lexi (Pulley) do such a good job mentoring them, kind of showing them the way. They just want to fight hard and be a part of this great thing we have going here in Laramie.”

All four of the players mentioned by Whisenant are seniors on this year’s team.

The Lady Plainsmen finished as runner-up in 2017 with a loss to Campbell County in the state championship match last spring. Their final record was 13-6 overall. All six losses came at the hands of either the Camels or Cheyenne East.

Laramie returns three starters and seven letter winners from last season. Leading the way will be reigning Wyoming Girls’ Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year Lexi Pulley, who is a three-time All-State selection. She led class 4A with 25 goals and was second with 12 assists last season.

Whisenant understands that Pulley will draw a lot of attention, but says nothing has to be mentioned.

“I don’t say a word. Lexi’s Lexi, and she’s got this intrinsic motivation that I don’t even need to worry about. She does her thing, and she’s very cerebral, in the fact that she knows what she’s got on her back. She’s a target, but I think that she owns it and lives up to it.”

Pulley will receive some welcomed help with the return of 2016 All-State selection Sekoya Romero. The senior missed her junior season last year with an injury.

Whisenant says with Romero, “Obviously taking a year off, she’ll be a little rusty, but she’s such competitor that she’ll find her way in to it as soon as possible.”

Romero has already scored five goals in three games this season.

Fellow seniors Hope Gonzales and Lindsey Meyer spoke with KOWB’s David Settle about this 2018 season. They talked about continuing to compete at a high level, their high expectations for this season and more. The video was filmed prior to the conference games last weekend.

LHS has been one of the top tier teams in class 4A for the past decade. Each year they’ve been in the mix, but even Coach Whisenant sees improvement across the state.

“I think 4A on both sides is strong. We’ll see how we shake out… but I think the new players help and new faces, and losing people’s hard, but you got to fill big shoes, and I think people are up to the task, and I think they’re looking forward to it.”

Whisenant does like the mix of her team, but also knows it may take some time to develop.

“I’m still not sold on what we’re doing, as far as our personnel and our system, but I know that we have the right players for it. I just need to make sure we manage our combinations together… so we’re going to manage all the pieces that we need to, to be successful in the last part of the year.”

As for goals or expectations, Whisenant always believes in reaching for the top.

“It’s always ‘skies the limit.’ We never look back. We never dwell on the past, and we’re going to look forward to big things like we did two years ago, and we set those goals for ourselves and don’t talk about anything else.”

After a 4-0 victory over Kelly Walsh last Tuesday to begin the season, Laramie split their first two conference games. They lost last Friday to No. 3 Campbell County, 4-1, but bounced back with a 7-0 victory over Sheridan.

The Lady Plainsmen had their game March 27 against Natrona County cancelled. No word so far about whether it will be rescheduled.