The St. Joseph girls soccer team is loaded this season.

The Lady Bulldogs are the defending state champions, and the bulk of their starters returned this season in hopes of repeating what they were able to do in Fayetteville last spring.

"We want to make it back to the state finals and try to compete for a title," St. Joseph coach Mike Angel said. "We’re confident that we have the team to get back to the state finals. Once we’re able to get there, then it’s anybody’s ball game. There’s always a target on your back when you’re a defending state champ. We’ve noticed that the intensity from other teams has been much higher."

Many of St. Joseph’s members played for the school’s basketball team, leading them to back-to-back state finals appearances. Senior forwards Brooke Enderlin and Jessie Moix scored over 25 goals apiece, which was 75 percent of the team’s points last season. Moix has been hampered by injuries suffered during the basketball season, so she hasn’t been able to play in a game this season.

"Those girls have experience. They’re fast and they can score with efficiency," Angel said. "They are excellent forwards and we like to get the ball to them on the top, and let them do what they do."

St. Joseph (3-3) only lost two starters to graduation last spring, Kaitlyn Nabholz and Lindsey Boone. Junior Taylor Ross returns as the goal keeper. Seniors Taylor Rittman and Sam Zinno provides years of experience in the middle, along with sophomores Brooke Schichtl and Jennifer Hegeman. Juniors Heather Dail and Rebecca Moix, along with senior Kelsey Davidson are locks as defenders. The Lady Bulldogs provided the most saves and the least amount of points scored against in their conference last spring.

"We’ve been off to a somewhat slow start, but a large part of that has been because of our injuries. Our injuries have been a problem for us," Angel said. "We have a couple of defenders out. Once we get those girls back, then we’ll be solid on the defensive line. I’ve had to play Moix at different positions because Jessie has been out. Once Jessie comes back then I’ll be able to move her back to her original position."