The returning WIAA state runner-up University School girls hockey co-op finally found its feet last week, winning two games after starting off 0-3-1.
"This year we are younger than we ever have, and we have a tough schedule," said coach Jacob Haury. "We have learned a lot in the first six games thus far and are beginning to find out groove.
"We are going to be a very hard working group. We will need to be very focused on capitalizing on our opportunities and limiting those for the opponents. I am looking to develop three lines to give us more depth than we had last season. Hopefully helping us in our playoff run."
The Wildcats, who are in the midst of a hectic, four-games-a-week schedule, beat both Western Wisconsin (5-2) and Stevens Point-Wisconsin Rapids-Marshfield (2-0) in games played Dec. 3.
The defending Eastern Shores Conference champions finished at 23-4-2 last season after falling to Hayward in the WIAA state finals.
They graduated only three players off that team, but two of them, second-leading scorer Caitlin McBride and fourth-leading scorer Hannah Koniar, were very valuable. Furthermore, leading scorer Nicole Unsworth was only a junior last season but is not listed on the roster this winter.
The top returning scorer is sophomore forward Gaby Turer.
Other key returnees include junior defenseman Hannah Gold, senior defenseman Rachel Hoge, sophomore forward Hannah Neudorfer, sophomore forward Karly Lamoreaux, sophomore forward Lexie Epperson and sophomore forward Claire Ali. Sophomore keeper Marie Dedert is also back after a fine freshmen season (1.76 goals against average).
The co-op includes USM, Nicolet, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and DSHA.