GIRLS SOCCER OUTLOOK 2012: Franklin defends state title


GIRLS SOCCER OUTLOOK 2012: Franklin defends state title

By ANDREW SKWARA / For Franklin Home Page

CHS, IHS chase FHS; BGA, Page build on big years
Girls soccer may not get the attention of some of the bigger sports, but when it comes to the Franklin-area schools maybe it should.

CHS, IHS chase FHS; BGA, Page build on big years

Girls soccer may not get the attention of some of the bigger sports, but when it comes to the Franklin-area schools maybe it should.

Perennial power Franklin High captured the Class AAA state title last season on its way to putting together a perfect 24-0 record. But longtime coach Jimmy Burchett says just getting past many of the teams in its own District 11-AAA was the Lady Rebels’ toughest challenge.

Franklin will have to replace seven starters from state title team.

“Just to get out of the district here is an accomplishment,” Burchett said. “I think the other coaches across the state would agree that this is the toughest district in the state. All across the board the teams are pretty impressive. Centennial and Independence are always strong and they have good teams coming back again.”

Could Centennial or Independence be strong enough to knock off Franklin this year? Are the Rebels strong enough to contend for another state title?

Division II’s state semifinalist Battle Ground Academy and Class A/AA’s defending region champ Page also have programs with plenty of strong tradition. We examine the above questions and what to look for out of all five area teams below in this preview:

Franklin

The amount of experience and production the Lady Rebels are faced with replacing is staggering. Seven starters are gone from their perfect run last season, including star Chesney White.

White poured in a remarkable 43 goals for the Lady Rebels in 2011 and helped Brentwood Soccer Club make it second straight national final before heading on to UNC-Greensboro.

Morgan Key-Adams (16) and Lyndie Donegan are top returning scorers for the Lady Rebels.

But, that doesn’t mean Burchett isn’t left with some talented weapons to utilize.

Senior midfielder Morgan Key-Adams (12 goals, 16 assists) and senior forward Lyndie Donegan (13 goals, 16 assists) are back. So is senior goalkeeper Emily Burchfield, who posted 13 shutouts in 2011.

“Lyndie gets a lot of pleasure in making the other players around her better. She’d rather get an assist than a goal,” said Burchett, who enters his 16th season at the helm of the storied program. “Morgan is tenacious and has a lot of vision. She works to set other players up and is really an all-around player.”

The biggest key for the Lady Rebels will be developing a strong defense in front of Burchfield. All four starters on the back line graduated. But, as usual, Burchett has an influx of young talent that is already showing promise.

“I think we have a good group of freshmen coming in, it’s just a matter of how quickly they can adjust to playing against juniors and seniors,” Burchett said. “Winning (a state title) is always our goal, but, logistically, I’m not sure that’s possible with this many young players. We are talented and I think we will be in the mix though.”

Centennial’s Sandy Pollock just coached BWSC Premier ’94 to national finals.

Centennial

Boys coach Sandy Pollock, who coached BWSC’s national U18 girls finalists last month, is also taking over the Lady Cougars program. Pollock will be aided by a pair of new assistants, Robbie Stewart and Beth Richards.

The return of seniors Paxton Parker, Haley Klages and Kayla Hunt give the coaching staff some veterans to build around.

“The seniors have really been amazing with the (coaching) transition and with leadership,” Richards said.

Freshman Cailan Moore is taking over in goal for former all-district keeper Kelsey Brouwer. Sydney Jensen is also expected to play a major role on the field. Freshmen Alex Scearce and Ellis Lazenbie have shown early promise and will contribute as well.

“We have a lot of strong varsity players. I think it’s going to be a good year,” Richards said.

Independence

No team in the area may be younger than the Lady Eagles. After losing eight seniors from a team that finished 9-9, including all-state forward Maria Davis, sixth-year coach David Cordero de Jesus will be leaning heavily on underclassmen.

At Brentwood Home Page
BHS, RHS top contenders

“We are going to be very, very young,” Cordero de Jesus said. “Sophomores and freshmen are going to have to make a big difference for us. We have four freshmen who will be playing a lot of varsity minutes and several sophomores in the mix.”

One of those promising freshmen is forward Ashley Weathers, who scored five goals in two preseason scrimmages.

Juniors Morgan Jackson and Elizabeth Sanders will provide leadership, Transfer Camilla Viking, another junior, has also impressed in practices.

“We have to replace a lot of defenders and center midfielders so we’re going to be focusing on getting pressure on better areas of the fields,” Cordero de Jesus said. “If we can do that we can score some goals, hopefully we can play to our strengths and the goals will come.”

Page

Scoring will be a strength for the Lady Patriots, thanks to the return of senior Kelsey Wilkes, who has already poured in more than 100 career goals.

Kelsey Wilkes

“Kelsey is a great player and a great girl on the field and in classroom,” said third-year coach Nate Clapp, who guided the team to a 16-6-1 mark that included district and region titles in 2011.

Clapp also feels senior midfielder Brittany O’Hanson is headed for a breakout year while junior midfielder Chlore Mariea and sophomore defender Beca Fox will play key roles.

“Brittany has worked harder this offseason to prepare for her senior year more than any other player I have coached,” Clapp said. “I believe she will make a big impact.”

The Lady Patriots’ biggest task may be replacing keeper Sierra Campbell, who signed to play with East Tennessee State. But the addition of six newcomers creates a chance at developing more depth in several areas.

“We have a lot of new faces so the girls need to grow together as a team, because everyone is out to help each other out,” Clapp said. “I am very excited to see where this team will end up at in the end of the season. We have some growing to do here at the beginning but I am anxious to see where we end up.”

Battle Ground Academy

The Lady Wildcats face the tough task of replacing an enormous amount of talent from a team that finished third in the 2011 Division II-AA state tournament.

Gone are three players who are now competing in college. That includes a pair of all-state selections: Cara Ledman (University of Kentucky) and Sydney Eddy (Ole Miss). 

A far younger team now takes over the reins with junior midfielder Annie Redovian and sophomore midfielders Korrie Sauder and Abbie Kerr among the leaders. Still, longtime coach Jan Morrisey has high expectations for her revamped roster.

“We have quite a bit of inexperience this season, but I’m encouraged about the potential of this group,” said Morrissey, who played at the University of Evansville. “This group has already learned so much in the little time they’ve spent together.

“They’ve set some high, but realistic goals for themselves. I’m happy to say that they have already learned so much, and I can already see a difference in their play. I expect this group to make a competitive run this season and be a contender for state tournament play.”

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

Related posts

Leave a Reply