Expectation are geared towards another state championship, as the Laramie Lady Plainsmen begin the 2017 season with a home match versus Scottsbluff Tuesday.

The Lady Plainsmen finished 15-3-1 last year in route to the school’s fourth state title. That included a 7-2-1 mark in the 4A East and a conference championship. They were second at the regional tournament.

Entering this new 2017 season, the defending state champions return all 11 starters and 15 letter winners from last year. Six of those Laramie players were named All-State for 4A Girls Soccer in Wyoming.

LHS will have all those players on the pitch this season with the exception of All-State forward Sekoya Romero, who suffered an injury in the off-season and will miss this year.

Even with a tough bit injury news, fifth-year Laramie head coach Kim Whisenant says she’s really looking forward to and excited about this season.

“We have a ton of depth this year, which is wonderful because we haven’t had that in the past… I think we have 21 on the squad this year; a couple of new players, new faces on the team that weren’t here last year, so that’s exciting for us, as well. Just ready to start and play a game (Tuesday) against someone besides ourselves and kind of see where we shape up.”

The Lady Plainsmen will be led junior Lexi Pulley, who is a two-time All-State player. She led LHS with 20 goals and 13 assists a year ago. That was the third-most goals and tied for the lead in assists in class 4A. Also back is senior goal keeper Morgan Bury, senior midfielder Kadelyn Setright, senior defender Paige Trent and junior midfielder Courtney Hamilton. All four also earned all-state honors.

Setright believes in the ability of this team to get it done again.

Bury also is confident they can repeat.

Whisenant has faith this team can play with a “target on their back” and deal with the expectations.

“We have a great group of senior leaders this year. I believe we have 10 on the varsity squad, so I’m hoping within that group we can find a way to get another state championship.”

The 2017 schedule features four non-conference games against Scottsbluff, NE and Riverton at home, and Natrona and Kelly Walsh on the road. There’s the usual 10-game conference slate followed by the regional tournament in Cheyenne. The 2017 state tournament is back in Sheridan at the Big Horn Equestrian Center May 18-20.

The journey begins against the Bearcats Tuesday from Deti Stadium at 6 p.m.