Lady Cats Take on New Offensive Philosophy
For the second year in a row, the Giles County High School girls’ soccer team will feature few seniors but a wealth of returning experience as the Lady Bobcats take on a newly aligned District 11-AA.
The 2017 season is the first in which the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association has created a third classification in soccer leading to the elimination of Class A/AA. GCHS will now be playing a field of schools more similar in enrollment including three new district opponents in Murfreesboro Central Magnet, Tullahoma and Lawrence County as well as familiar district rivals in Page, Spring Hill, Marshall County and Nolensville.
GCHS finished last season 13-4-1 with a 5-2-1 record in District 12-A/AA, marking the third-straight year in which the program posted a double-digit win total. The Lady Cat senior class will look to make it four-straight with a talented roster in 2017 with a chance for the fourth year players to earn the rare distinction of winning 50 career games if GCHS can make a deep postseason run.
Last year’s team saw the departure of several key seniors including district MVP goalie Bre Harvey as well as second team all-district Madison Newton and starting forward Anna Katherine Underwood. Orgeron said several younger players have stepped into key roles, and the team hopes to have returning backup keeper Alexis Rose healthy in the coming weeks after the senior suffered a torn ACL in basketball last season. Three other keepers are also battling for playing time in Rose’s absence including Lexi Barnickle and Makenna Birdsong who both saw extended minutes in the first scrimmage against Richland.
Heading up the defense in the team’s 4-4-2 alignment will be senior centerback Kacie Sanders, who has already signed with Martin Methodist College before the start of her senior season. Orgeron praised the multi-year starter as a phenomenal athlete, and she will be joined by returning starter Mackenzie Sherrell who played as a fullback in 2016.
Orgeron said a key to this year’s team will be the club’s use of its fullbacks in attacking formations, a position group that is one of the program’s deepest with Brenna Huckaba, Grace Hlubb, Natalie Aymett and Madison Alsup all expected to play key roles.
Heading up the midfield will be three returning starters and a talented transfer with seniors Mary Mize and Allie Faulkner playing the outside and Allie Toone and freshman transfer Amalie Robinson in the other two midfield roles. Toone is also expected to see some time at forward, and Orgeron added that Robinson’s play has allowed the team to play Addie Lake up at forward.
Lake is currently nursing an ankle injury according to her coach but is expected to help lead a “very strong” position group in her coach’s words that includes an all-district, olympic development player in Drocea, who scored 25 goals in 2016 and continues to climb the school’s all-time scoring list as a junior.
Orgeron said the identity of this year’s team will need to be that of a possession team that forces opponents to make mistakes and added that he has been pleased with the development of many of the team’s younger players and some of last year’s JV squad who are ready to make the move to varsity roles this year. GCHS played its full roster in a 3-1 scrimmage victory over Richland, which included a pair of goals by Drocea and another score in the box from Lake.
The Lady Cats are scheduled to open the regular season at former district opponent Wayne County Aug. 17. The team will take on the first game of its district schedule at Page Aug. 22, and the home opener at Rotary Park is set for Aug. 29 against Murfreesboro Central Magnet.
Read more of this story in this week’s PULASKI CITIZEN, available in markets across Giles County and in digital and traditional newspaper formats by subscription.