If you would have asked Turlock varsity girls head coach Mark Musselman what he expected from his team before the start of the 2014-15 season, he would have told you that his team was looking competitive and chasing a league title.
After a 4-0 start to the year, a handful of players, along with sophomore Shea Williams went down with freak injuries and the Bulldog bench was left decimated for the remainder of the year.
Unfortunately the team went on a 5-18 record after the strong start, including 2-8 in the Central California Conference and everyone was left wondering what could have been.
“We should be better than we were last year, I expect that if everybody stays healthy then there is a chance we can make the playoffs but that is the goal to stay healthy,” said Musselman.
Williams, who blew her knee out about a year ago, had an outstanding rookie campaign and missed all of last season, but the 5-foot-11 forward is back and should be a big contributor.
Along with Williams is senior captain Meghan Hopkins and sophomores Hope Salsig and Sarah Musselman have been playing competitive ball since the age of 10.
“They have always played travel ball,” Musselman said of Hope and Sarah. “They have already extended leadership roles because the other girls are admiring them and they can see what they can do and they are better with those two there.”
Salsig and Musselman also bring in a lot of youth on a team that is senior heavy.
Hopkins is looking to play an extensive role as the premier shut-down defender for the 'Dogs.
“Meghan (Hopkins) is one of the best defenders in CCC and she worked hard to improve her offensive game and really worked hard going to camps,” said Musselman. “So I think of her and her work ethic, she does not care for scoring but will defend every tough player.”
Also expect to see freshman Jaydon Williams to improve as the year progresses for the young 'Dogs.
“I know we are young but we definitely took steps and our goal is to make the playoffs,” said Musselman. “Hopefully they all stay healthy and make it happen and league looks to be even but you never know strange things happen.
“We are positive because if we play the way we can then we can get the playoff spot. We are solid from what Turlock has had in a long time,” he added. “Offensively, we will have more than one player more than one threat and it's something I have not had.”
Turlock's first game will be on the road against Los Banos at 7:30 p.m. Dec.2.