Ladycat Soccer hopes to net some success
As the Ladycat soccer teams head into the 2019 season, the excitement is running high. The Ladycats will be replacing nine seniors which includes scoring leader Casey Jones. Coach Stacey Myers seems to have big expectations for this group of Ladycats as it will be a blend of returning players with a mix of young quick players. Watching the team practice, you can see a group that is energetic, gets along well, and is quick to talk to each other. Coach Myers said speaking of the group, “They have the will to be a good team, but they haven’t found the way yet.” That will come as the season progresses and the girls gain experience in stressful situations.
Coach Myers will be switching over the team alignment this season to a 4-5-1 to give a little more support on defense as she looks to find a strong defensive-minded player to play in the goal. Last year, the Ladycats could not control the middle of the field. Coach Myers tried numerous rotations, but the group never looked confident in their ability to stop opposing teams from driving it down the middle of the field for shots on goal. The new alignment will place an extra body in that area in hopes of stopping ball advancement.
Coach Myers commented while wearing a big smile,”Yes this team is special in that they have heart and they don’t give up. They play with everything they have.” She continued, “ There are some players that the staff has high expectations of and that they will step up and fill leadership roles on the team.”
Raegan Carlisle is one of those players. She is an athletic multi-sport player for Pendleton County. She showed some great instinct last year on the field as a freshman. The Ladycats will be looking for her to score goals up the middle of the field, replacing last year’s threat Casey Jones. Carlisle has shown she has the talent to take that role and expand it over to the defensive side where it will be important to play a solid middle field and close off the ball from advancing.
Sierra Black is another player that showed some potential last season as a scoring threat. She is an aggressive player who knows how to use her elbows well. What will be needed of her this season is consistency in play. Her physical style will lead to her getting shots on goal and passes to the box. She is active on the field and has no fear in attacking the ball.
Another freshman that could have an impact will be Emma Cummins. Carlisle and she demonstrated what a good pair they could become with their play last season. The new alignment still has Cummins in a learning mode as the staff is still exploring options trying to find the position where her strengths will be best utilized. She has a lot of potential to become a third scorer for the team and cause defenses a lot of problems.
Defensively, the Ladycats are looking to tighten up on ball control. At times last season, opposing teams had no trouble controlling the game, nor were they hampered in any way from moving the ball up and down the field at will. The new alignment will help in that regard as it puts another defender back in the middle to close those gaps.
Mallory Kordes will be looked upon to bring her physical attitude and play to every game. Kordes had no worries last season about knocking people off the ball and gaining control. She also has the ability when needed to move to the offensive side of the ball and let shots fly from mid-field. The staff is looking for her to take the ball and make some long runs, opening up shots for teammates. Kordes will also have the responsibility for taking all corner kicks for the Ladycats. Kordes said about the upcoming season, “I like playing defense because it is physical, and I get to body people off the ball.”
Maci Gillespie, who will be one of the double stoppers, is another one of the players that showed improvement from start to finish last season. Last season, she stepped up when called upon to fill gaps from the numerous injuries. She is very much a team player when on the field and takes her role seriously.
Isabella Miracle will be a wildcard on defense. She did not play last season, but so far in practices and scrimmages has shown some soccer savvy and has picked up on things quickly. Coach Myers said she would be counting on her defense and so far has shown great chemistry in communication with goalie Ashlee Lewis.
Goalie Ashlee Lewis is going to be an all important piece of the puzzle this season. Last year she stepped up and filled the role in net numerous times and hopefully that experience pays off. The goalie has to be actively involved in the game, aggressively diving for balls and stretching to the full extent to stop opposing shots, but they also have to communicate and help direct the defense where to drop and who to mark up against. This was lacking from last year’s team as opposing players ran through the box unmarked and led to goals being scored on the Ladycats. If Lewis takes command like that in the goal this season, the team should be in fine shape.
The outlook for the district early on and based on performances from last season show Harrison County should be the favorite led by Kylie Hudgins who led the team last year in scoring. After that, any one of the three remaining teams could cause the Fillies some trouble as St. Pat will be leaning on all around good player Allison Hughes and Mason County looks to Rachel Payne. As for the Ladycats, Coach Myers likes her chances saying, “It is hard for me to say how good we are until we get some experience against leveled competition, but I do think this team is more physically prepared for the season compared to some of our past teams.”