The Devil’s Advocate

The Student News Site of Lodi High School

The Devil’s Advocate

The Devil’s Advocate

Meet the Staff

Amelia Clark is a junior at Lodi High School. This is her first year writing for the school newspaper.

Kai is currently a junior at Lodi High School. This is their first year on staff.

Dylan Ness is a junior at LHS. He is a writer, reporter, and yearbook staff member. This is his first year taking this class.

Sasha Rudnytsky
Sasha Rudnytsky
Newspaper Editor

Sasha Rudnytsky is a junior at Lodi High School and is Editor-in-Chief for the newspaper. Although mainly focusing on work with the newspaper, she has been featured in different broadcast segments. Sasha...

Lodi Girls’ Soccer Eyes State Title with Renewed Strategy

New Formations, Same Dreams: Lodi’s Soccer Squad Getting Ready for a Winning Season
Audrey Parpart
Lodi Varsity against Baraboo

The Lodi girls soccer team returns to the field with the echoes of last season’s cheers in their memories. The team returns with unfinished business, with the state title just out of reach last season. This experience has left them with a desire to give it their all. The varsity and junior varsity teams are back with their coaches, Joe Birkholz, Grant Lembcke, and Garet Sagami.

These coaches are responsible for guiding their players in formation and preparing them mentally and physically for the games ahead. Their approach focuses on improving the players’ strategic thinking and enhancing their physical performance by incorporating workout sessions during practice.

This year, the coaches have introduced a change in the team’s playing formation. They plan to use the 3-5-2 formation but are also open to changing to a 3-4-3 formation if needed. To explain for those who don’t understand the numbers to dash formations, the first number is defense, the second is midfield, and the last is forwards. For those still unfamiliar with the concept of this, there are defenders, five midfielders, and two forwards.

Coach Birkholz has a smart approach to developing players. “It’s important for JV players to get playing time in matches to gain experience,” he said. “But to make it clear that no one is guaranteed playtime on varsity,” not every player gets to play in every game. Perhaps this is due to the half rule, where there is a limited amount of time you get to play during the season, or maybe there are past injuries or health issues.

Story continues below advertisement

Coach Sagami takes a different approach than most coaches by giving each player equal playing time. He believes that JV soccer is about developing players and building their confidence. He sets clear expectations for his team, emphasizing the importance of attending practice and putting in effort. “Since it’s my first year as the head coach for junior varsity, I am trying to get to know each player and their play style; it’s a fun learning experience, and I want to do my best to help out the best I can to help them be prepared for each game and to reach their goals for the season,” Sagami said.

Though Coach Birkholz wants JV to have confidence playing on the varsity field, he wants those who can handle the mental and physical game that varsity can bring. Not only that, but he does believe JV’s growth is more important than winning, as any good coach would want.

Moving on, let’s talk about varsity. Since we are talking about preparation, varsity coaches and players watch films of other teams and themselves, and then they talk about how they can change and fix small mistakes. Not only that, but the varsity team also looks at statistics. Recently, they have looked at them and changed their playing style instead of sending the ball up high. They build out the back and do strong attacking within the midfield and forwards. This year’s three captains play vital spots on the field:

  • Senior Gianna Burke is a forward.
  • Senior Anna Balfanz plays as a midfielder.
  • Junior Ava Ballweg plays as a center-back.

Ballweg leads the team’s defense as the center-back and is very important for the team’s structure. She can switch from defense to offense seamlessly, which shows her strategic skills and how crucial she is on the field.

Sophomore Adysen Young is a midfielder who helps maintain the team’s defensive integrity while Ballweg goes forward. When considering Burke and Balfanz as seniors, they’ve worked together at the very least for four years and have learned when each other is going to shoot or give a good through ball to each other to set up a shot. But both have amazing technical skills and do well controlling the center along with Ballweg and Young.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Madeline Deleon
Madeline Deleon is currently a freshman at Lodi High School. It is her second semester with the staff. She works on broadcast, newspaper, and yearbook.