DUNLAP — There's two kinds of chemistry taught in high school. One has beakers and bunsen burners, the other is about personal relationships and trust among teammates.
Todd Hesselbart, who is entering his fifth season as head girls soccer coach at Concord High School, is sold on the importance of team chemistry.
"I learned a long time ago from a friend of mine that coached girls that a team that gets along and bonds together, plays together," says Hesselbart, who has coached most of the current seniors since they were 8 and 9 years old, playing for Concord Youth Soccer and Elkhart Flames teams.
That's why each year after tryouts and two-a-days, Hesselbart takes his CHS seniors and juniors to his lake house in lower Michigan for a day of relaxing and blowing off steam mixed with camaraderie and goal-setting.
They sit around the campfire and discuss personal and team objectives and even share a unique fact or two about one another.
"I can't take the whole team," says Hesselbart. "I take the seniors and juniors. It's kind of a leadership thing."
Players can enjoy the water and each other's company while building friendships that are expected to help at game time.
"We get to know each other closely," says senior goalkeeper Kiley Harmon. "When we're playing on the field together, it's stronger because we can trust each other because we know stuff about each other."
Madison Miller, a senior defender/midfielder who also made friends with a turtle during the lake session, is a fan of the team-building experience.
"We can connect a little more on and off the field," says Miller. "It lets me know that I can rely on that person and they can rely on me.
"It's a good chance for us to relax and connect on a different level that's not competitive."
Mackenzi Hesselbart, Todd's daughter and a senior defender/midfielder for the Minutemen, has been getting to know her own family at the lake much of her life and appreciates what the outing does for team chemistry.
"If we don't have (chemistry), we're just going to be a bunch of players and we're not going to be able to work together to achieve our common goal, which is to win games," says Mackenzi. "We all need to be as one. Being as one makes us work better together."
Concord coaches also talk about being positive even when dealing with a problem. This positivity leads to trust and helps the team achieve more.
"We believe that trusting each other is probably one of the most important things that we have as a team," says Mackenzi. "We also talk about not taking things personally. On the soccer field, we never know what's going to come out of each other's mouths. We're working hard and we're trying to win."
And it all comes as a part of team chemistry.
No Team at Bethany
According to assistant athletic director Kevin Miller, Bethany Christian has decided to suspend its high school girls soccer program for the next two years while trying to bring up numbers. The Bruins do not plan to play on the varsity or JV levels in 2014 or 2015.
2014 GIRLS SOCCER PREVIEW
Coach: Todd Hesselbart (47-19-6 in four seasons).
Assistants: Emmy Gibson, Lindsey Yoder.
2013 record: 10-7-1 (3-3-1 in Northern Lakes Conference; sectional champions).
Returning letterwinners (15): Seniors — d/mf Megan Diver, g Kiley Harmon, d/mf Mackenzi Hesselbart, d/mf Madison Miller, mf Peyton Miller, mf/f Tori Moore, d Cheyenne Szobodi. Juniors — mf/f Casey Buchanan, mf/f Jacquelyn DeShone, mf/d Mariah DeFreese, mf Nayeli Jimenez, mf Emma Paden. Sophomores — d Lauren Boone, mf Chloe O'Dell, f Brenda Tellez.
Others: Senior — d/mf Celina Lanng. Sophomore — d Leslie Morales. Freshman — mf Micaela Tolar.
Opener: Aug. 18 vs. Penn.
Coach: Chris Malott (14-18-1 in two seasons).
Assistants: Anjelica Chavarria, Jon Irvin, Jay Wicks.
2013 record: 7-10 (4-4 in Northern Indiana Conference).
Returning letterwinners (10): Seniors — mf Cat Anagnos, g Rebekka Ponce, mf Valeria Robles. Juniors — d Lauren Gingrich, d Kierston Irvin, f Hunter Knoll, mf Rachel Swanson, d Gabi Yoder. Sophomores — mf/f Meghan Knoff, mf Jessica Trease.
Others: Seniors — f Silvia Baltazar, mf/d Katelyn Stout. Junior — d Luisa Lopez. Sophomores — d Deisy Lopez, f/mf Reyna McComish. Freshmen — f Alize Furlow, mf Gabriella Jantzen.
Opener: Aug. 21 vs. Glenn (Newton Park).
Coach: Brian Dregits (3-13-2 in one season).
Assistants: Bret Deardorff, Hailey Fultz.
2013 record: 3-13-2 (1-4 in Northern Indiana Soccer Conference).
Returning letterwinners (10): Seniors — mf Emily Kern, g Hannah Stayton, d Brooke Yoder. Juniors — d Allison Angel, f Alyssa Buckles. Sophomores — d Sarah DeVries, mf Bailey Perkins, mf Mary Reddy, f Kaitlyn Shoemaker, d Carissa Warren.
Others: Juniors — d Brenna Deardorff, f Liz Lewis. Freshmen — mf Ann Marie Bell, d/g Elizabeth Hickman, mf/f Edith Jongsma, mf/d Sydney Kern, d/g Jenna Natalie.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Lakewood Park Christian.
Coach: Don Knowlton (20-42-6 in four seasons).
Assistants: Darrell Cannan, Darrell Cannan, Amanda Cave, Chris Miller, Dean Crane.
2013 record: 6-9-1 (2-5 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (10): Seniors — mf Kristyn Cook, mf Allyson Crane, mf Jordan Hostetler, d Krystal Ponce, d Nicole Woolwine. Juniors — f Hope Cannan, f Alexx Freshour, g Kennedy Knowlton. Sophomores — mf Taylor Freshour, mf Kirstin Huber.
Others: Seniors — f Daisy Garcia, d Jennifer Sanchez. Juniors — f/g Valerie Rocha, d Morgan Rockrohr. Sophomores — mf Michaela Dibley, mf Chelsa Miller, f Crystal Vazquez. Freshman — d MaKenzie Swearingen.
Opener: Aug. 19 vs. Goshen.
Coach: Dan Graber (131-67-18 in 12 seasons).
Assistants: Kari Wildman, Tracy Swain, Yaneth Springer.
2013 record: 15-2-1 (5-1-1 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (10): Seniors — mf Joleen Miller, d Bryana Palomino, d Marisela Salazar. Juniors — g Alyssa Hershberger, mf Xenia Isaula, mf Catherine Loera, f Jelitza Palomino. Sophomores — d Ashton Ellis, d Priscila Flores, f Alyssa Trosper.
Others: Seniors — d Juana Hernandez. Sophomore — mf Noelia Calderon, f Maria Ramos. Freshmen — mf Jhoana Gomez, d Jill Kissinger, mf Hannah Kurtz.
Opener: Aug. 19 at Elkhart Memorial.
Coach: Bill Redinger (120-55-22 in 11 seasons).
Assistants: Alisha Christner, Thavisith Mounsithiraj, Kaytlynn Stark, Julina Lewis.
2013 record: 16-2-2 (7-0 in Northern Lakes Conference; NLC, sectional champions).
Returning letterwinners (7): Seniors — mf Sydney Fuller, d Brennah Tadeo. Juniors — mf Hayley Cunningham, mf/f Ellie Lengacher, mf Bailey O'Dell. Sophomores — mf/f Brey Baltazar, d/mf Jade Thompson.
Others: Seniors —d/mf Sage Baltazar, mf/f Sarah Nowak, mf Sarah Patino. Juniors — d Kayla Chaney, g Mallory Fletcher, mf Savannah Richardson. Sophomores — mf/f Heidi Hochstetler, d/mf Maddie Kidder. Freshmen — g/f Meghan Cawood, f Kyle Long, d Annie Mounsithiraj.
Opener: Aug. 20 vs. Marian.
Coach: Phil Ummel (73-41-17 in seven seasons).
Assistants: Tecia Timmel, Tom Shields, Danae Ehret.
2013 record: 13-4-1 (3-3-1 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (8): Senior — f/mf Rylee Beck. Juniors — mf Regan Beck, mf/d Rylee Carothers, g Madi Eberle, d Arika Flickinger, f Amanda Heckaman, f Bailie Lehman. Sophomore — d Sarah Foster.
Others: Senior — g Brianna Tuttle. Juniors — d McKayla Fielstra, d Taylor Luster. Sophomores — f Brittani Shields, mf Cassie Yoder. Freshmen — md McKenzie Lincoln, mf/d Betsy Nunemaker.
Opener: Aug.19 at Mishawaka.
Coach: Jeff Hart (12-5-4 in one season).
Assistants: Sarah Mott, Scott Hayes, Will Baker, Chad Hershberger.
2013 record: 16-5-1 (7-1 in Northern Indiana Conference; NIC, sectional, regional champions).
Top returnees: Seniors — d Anna Desimone, d Brianna Hart, d Samantha Kaczynski, mf Meredith Mangus, mf Rachel McCarthy, mf Melina Yeoman. Juniors — dMackenzie Mason, mf Kamra Solomon, f Jensen Stroinski, f Mikaylah Woods.
Opener: Aug. 18 at Concord.
Coach: Doug Heinisch (0-16 in one season).
Assistant: Alayna Holmquest, Greg Sausaman.
2013 record: 0-16 (0-7 in Northern Lakes Conference).
Returning letterwinners (12): Senior — mf Caitlin Clevenger. Juniors — fb Maddie Birch, f Sara Lancaster, fb Darrian Rosenberry, f Janette Schmidt, mf Savannah Schwartz, mf Samantha Valle. Sophomores — mf Alyssa Bolyard, f Brooklyn McCullough, fb Lauren Sausaman, f Leigh Ann Shrack, g Nicole Streby.
Others: Junior — fb Alyssa Magiera. Sophomore — fb Lee Ann Estrada. Freshman — fb Meghan Beer.
Opener: Aug. 18 vs. Lakeland.
Coach: Jon Jantzi (42-15-3 in three seasons).
Assistant: Pat Martin, Jamie Martin, Ryan Yoder.
2013 record: 15-5 (4-0 in Northeast Corner Conference; 5-0 in Northern Indiana Soccer Conference; NECC regular season and tournament, NISC, sectional champions).
Returning letterwinners (16): Senior — f Sidney Birket, mf Maddie Jones, d Taylor Jones, f Stephenie Mowery, mf/f Tori Oesch. Juniors — d/mf Erika Gamble, mf/f Riley Hochstetler, g/d Megan Steider, mf Tori Wisler, mf Tessa Zimmerly. Sophomores — mf Karysaa Davis, mf Amiah May, mf Taryn Pruitt, mf Reagan Sharick, g Grace St. Clair, d Karla Yoder.
Others: Senior — f Katie Miller. Freshman — mf Libbie Martin.
Opener: Aug. 23 at Wawasee.