High School Sports

GIRLS SOCCER PREVIEW

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Athenians hoping to rebuild defense

Sierra Hutchison, the Athenian goalie, was the backbone of the Crawfordsville girls’ soccer team — leading the team and stopping everything in her way.

Now Hutchison has graduated, and the Athenians are looking to reload defensively.

“It is a huge hurdle to overcome,” Crawfordsville coach Laurie Vellner said. “She was a moral boost for our team and that is a gigantic void that we do need to fill. And we are starting it, beginning with baby steps.”

The first piece of that puzzle is freshman goalie Zoey Corbin, along with senior captain Lauren Hale, who will anchor the back line, along with midfielder and captain Kaylie Miller.

Vellner says the Athenians overall return 10 seniors from last years’ team that won just a single game, and it is up to them to decide how much they will improve in 2020.

“I can’t say we are a young team, we have 10 seniors, and quite a few of those seniors are actually returning varsity players,” she said. “I think the hurdle is getting them to play to the abilty they know how to.”

Crawfordsville struggled to find the back of the net in 2019, but its success in 2020 will once again heavily depend on defensive performance.

“The defensive mindset changes when the productivity behind you goes down,” Vellner said. “and when they had Sierra Hutchison behind them, she pretty much had their back on every single thing and they could rely on her to make the save. The confidence in that person being there and making the save is gone.”

Chargers built for success

LINDEN — In 2019, the North Montgomery girls’ soccer team won seven of its last 10 games.

And in 2020, the Chargers return their entire starting lineup.

Led by Sidney Campbell, Teegan Bacon, and Lydia Dugard, who all scored double-digit goals last season, the Chargers are hungry to compete for county, conference, and sectional titles.

“We have the same county and conference goals as usual,” longtime North Montgomery coach Julie Hodges said. “Conference games are where we are looking toimprove the most this season. We lost a couple shootout and overtime games in the conference. We really feel we should be in the top of the pack.”

The Chargers lost to Sagamore Conference foe Danville, overtime losses to Southmont (shootout) and Western Boone, and lost to Lebanon after leading with 12 minutes to go last fall.

They were close last year, and the senior class of Campbell, Nina Gable, Haley Sommer, Kelsey Anderson, and Jillian Sommer are ready to take the program to new heights.

“We feel like we were close last year,” Hodges added. “The main thing is confidence. We are lead by a great senior class who is hungry to finish on top.  They already are the winningest class in program history after their junior year.  On top of that, we have a very large group of juniors who understand that having a group like this together doesn’t happen very often.”

Mounties return bulk of regional final team

NEW MARKET — The Southmont girls soccer team may have graduated their top goal scorer and two defensive starters from last seasons’ regional runner-up team, but second-year coach Phil Keller is confident his team will be able to adjust and remain successful in 2020.

“We have to recognize that our game plan will be completely different moving forward into this season,” he said. “We have many talented players this season and will be able to play many different strategies during this season compared to last. I believe that this team has the potential to be the most successful team this program has ever had.”

Keller says seniors Addison Charles, Emalie Ayers, Darzy Chieppo, and junior Belle Miller will step up into leadership roles this season, while several freshmen are expected to make an impact on the varsity.

While players such as Lexie Odum and Macy Zachary have put the three-time defending sectional champions on their back in recent seasons, it will take a collective team effort if the Mounties want to win a fourth-straight sectional title.

“We will be relying on team work to win games this season,” Keller said. “This season will look very different from last season in that we are not just targeting one player. Defense has always been a big part of our strategy and this season is no different.”

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