Veteran Homestead girls soccer coach Rich Dorn knew how special that senior class was last year.
The one that came together late and made an epic rush to a WIAA State Division 2 title last June.
And as he embraces those fond memories, he would just like to wrap them around just a few more talented players this spring as the Highlanders, top-ranked in state pre-season D2 polls, look to repeat as titlists.
"We lost a total of 15 players," Dorn said, "and when you get a contingent of that quality and quantity you do usually reap a good reward. The only thing is, is that when you get in a situation like that, you're hoping for another good group to come along. It didn't happen this spring, so we're hoping that maybe next year (will be a good freshman group)."
Still, as Dorn prepares to work with an approximately 38-member varsity/junior varsity group as opposed to his usual 50 or so, he is still feeling optimistic.
"We looked pretty good (in a 0-0 tie with Kenosha Bradford on April 1)," he said. "We didn't score, but we have a good contingent of players. People who have put in their time and who are looking to step out of the shadows. We're taking this as an opportunity and it's been a lot of fun."
As could be expected, it's an underclassmen-heavy group for the Highlanders as they have only four seniors, including captain and midfielder Brigid West. Other seniors include defender Jennifer Harley, midfielder Jenna Dorf and defender Katie Wegmann.
Wegmann, is a state place-winning track runner but will try to double dip in both sports this season.
Both West and Dorf are four-year varsity players.
Dorn is also looking for big things from junior keeper Hannah Malicky, junior defender Megan Hegarty and freshman defender Lauren Fitzsimmons. Others of note in the midfield include junior Kayla Zimdars, sophomore Liz White and junior Grace Looker.
Up top, forwards will include junior Lauryn Hart and sophomore Haley Haddad.
As noted, Dorn is encouraged.
"These kids have ability and confidence and a willingness to work," he said. "They have a willingness to work to win. They would like to be in the same category as that last group (the state champs). Depth will be a challenge for us, but we will be a strong team. The key for us will be to find a way to score."
That was a frustration against Bradford as the Highlanders outshot the Red Devils, 24-4.
The Highlanders took on Germantown on Wednesday, April 5, and will visit Menomonee Falls in a Thursday, April 6, tilt.