After losing a senior class of eight, you would think Carroll County’s varsity girls’ soccer team would be rebuilding.
But then 50 girls came out for tryouts and less than 10 of them were not in the program last year. Head coach Marion Harris credits this to having the JV girls’ team and the middle school program. Even so, the varsity team only has eight returning players from last year’s team. Three of the five seniors returning will be the first senior class that has five seasons on an all-girls’ team at CCHS.
“This senior class is special to me because we started our journey together,” Harris said.
“Coach Harris help start the JV girls’ team when the seniors were 8th graders and has been their coach ever since. This special senior group, which has three seniors in their 5th year and 2 seniors that have three years of experience, will be joined by two juniors that are in their third year of being on the varsity team and one sophomore that is in her second season on varsity.
All eight returning players will start the year as starters for the Cavaliers but this was not just given to them, Harris said. They have had to fight hard with the talented group of girls that have joined them on the varsity team this year. Seniors Autumn Gravley, Izzy Largen and Laura Puckett, along with returning Junior Haley Hurst, will help anchor the back line for the Cavaliers.
Two years ago the Cavaliers gave up over 120 goals and then last year they only gave up around 60 goals. This year this group, along with the rest of the team, has a goal of allowing less than 30 goals, Harris said.
On the other side of the ball, seniors Joy Miller and Natalie Puckett will join junior Adrienne Harris and sophomore Kaylei Newman in trying to become the first team in Carroll County girls’ history is to score over 50 goals for the season.
“With the younger players that we have joining them this year I believe this team will be able to accomplish this. It will not be easy but this team has had a great preseason,” Harris said. “The team had a great team-building weekend where they were challenged by different people and by the weather to accomplish certain tasks as a team. The team has also had two scrimmages against two outstanding programs.”
Harris said the Cavs lost its first scrimmage 4-1 against a Graham team that will be one of the top 1A or 2A teams in the state. All goals given up in the scrimmage are easily correctable, Harris said.
“We also scored a goal and missed at least two others from point-blank range that should have been in,” Harris said. “This was a great scrimmage because we got to see what we had against a strong program and a team that will be in the running for a state title.”
The second Scrimmage was against 2A powerhouse Martinsville. The Lady Cavs have never beat Martinsville in a full game in girls’ soccer until now. The Lady Cavs beat the Lady Bulldogs 2-0 on a very cold night at Tommy Thompson Stadium. Kaylei Newman had her first assist from a corner kick to Adrienne Harris and she finished this goal with a header.
“This is something these two have been working on all preseason and was one of their personal goals for the season was to finish a goal off of a set piece,” Harris said. “Later in the game the two hooked up again and Adrienne finished another goal from a great pass from Kaylei. These two showed that night they will be a duo that will be hard to stop this season.”
This week the Lady Cavs open their season with two games against Pulaski and one against Galax if the weather holds.
“This group will be a fun and exciting group to coach and watch this season so come out and watch them when you can,” Harris said.