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2019 Girls Soccer Season Outlook | Teams vie for postseason berths

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Currituck's Cara Spry will try to lead the Lady Knights on another run in the NCHSAA Class 2A state playoffs this spring.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Monday, March 11, 2019

It was a notable girls' soccer season last spring as all five soccer programs in the area earned berths into the state playoffs.

Currituck, Northeastern and Pasquotank earned berths into the NCHSAA Class 2A state playoffs, while Camden and John A. Holmes competed in the Class 1A state playoff tournament.

All five programs aim to match or surpass last season's success, while Perquimans has made history this spring fielding a girls' soccer team.

Here is more on area girls' soccer:

CURRITUCK

Coach: Madison Phillips

Last season's record: (18-5-0, 6-2-0 Northeastern Coastal Conference)

Outlook: Currituck returns another talented core of players for the 2019 season.

Currituck has eight returning regular starters from last season's team that advanced to the third round of the state playoffs and finished second in the conference to First Flight.

First Flight went on to win the NCHSAA Class 2A state championship last season.

Leading the way offensively is Cara Spry.

Last season, Spry was one of the team's top goal scorers. She will be joined up top by Annie Ammons.

Currituck will be without former Daily Advance Area Players of the Year in Sarah Dover and Kenzie Kelleher, who were both seniors last spring.

The Lady Knights are led defensively by seniors Kendal Cahill, Sydney Cowan, Heather Hennessey and Kaile Heilig.

Cahill has committed to continue her soccer career at Methodist University next year.

Ryleigh Hammock (defense and midfield), Whitney Shilling (goalkeeper), Samantha Phillips (midfield), Madison Hibbs (defense and midfield) and Jasmine Gorney (midfield) will be starters this season.

The Lady Knights will have to replace goalkeeper Anna Poston in goal this season. Poston was a senior last spring.

Shilling along with Anna Walls will likely share goalkeeping duties this season.

The Lady Knights are off to a 1-2 start to the season after defeating Northeastern Feb. 28, but lost two matches at the Brittany Willis Soccer Showcase in Wilson Friday and Saturday.

Currituck lost to Wilmington-Ashley 6-1 on Saturday. Ashley is a Class 4A school.

NORTHEASTERN

Coach: Elizabeth Sundberg

Last season's record: (6-10-3, 4-4-0 Northeastern Coastal Conference)

Outlook: The Lady Eagles return a number of experienced players from last season's team that finished third in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

Lizbeth Rodriguez Roman (forward and midfield), Vanessa Jimenez-Santos (forward and midfield), Olivia Sanders (midfield), Abigail Midgette (forward and midfield), Madeline Twiford (midfield and defense), Ellie Hornthal (defense), Kassidy Malo (defense), Abigail Furst (defense) and Sydney Miller (goalkeeper) are returing starters will comprise the starting 11 this season.

Freshmen Carmen Portillo-Enamorado (midfield) and Emma Montero (forward and midfield) will likely be starters this season.

Sundberg noted that Northeastern has a young team this season with only two returning seniors.

One of the keys that Sundberg noted for the team this season is to develop chemistry on the field between the new players and the returning players.

“Even though we have several returning starters, some of them may be playing in different positions than they did in past seasons,” Sundberg said.

NHS started the season with two league games against Currituck and defending conference champion First Flight and lost to Nash Central 3-1 at the Brittany Willis Showcase Saturday.

The Lady Eagles will host Perquimans today.

JOHN A. HOLMES

Coach: Josh Laverty

Last season's record: (8-10-2, 2-4-0 Albemarle Athletic Conference)

Outlook: Edenton returns seven starters from last season's team that finished tied for second place with Camden in the league, but won two out of the three matchups during the regular season against the Bruins.

Edenton will be led offensively by seniors Jessica Copeland and Malorie Gonzalez.

Copeland (nine goals and nine assists) and Gonzalez (seven goals) were the top two goal scorers for the Lady Aces last season.

They will be joined by junior Lilly Bunch.

Anna Bass, a senior, will be the Lady Aces' goalkeeper this season.

Bass was credited with 168 saves last season.

Jamie Hamm (forward), Elizabeth Manning (defense), Alyssa Goodwin (defense) and Abigail Faircloth (midfield) are expected starters this season.

Entering his first season as the head coach, Laverty noted that the Lady Aces will be athletic across the board and the team has players with high soccer IQ defensively and in the midfield.

The coach also noted the team's senior leadership. He added that the key to the season is to develop young, incoming players to fill in needed positions.

He added that the seniors must stay focus on the team's common goal.

“We are a relatively young team, but have a strong senior group,” Laverty said.

CAMDEN

Coach: Chuck Leslie

Last season's record: (6-11-3, 2-4-0 Albemarle Athletic Conference)

Outlook: Camden returns six starters from last season's team that finished tied with John A. Holmes for second place in the conference.

Notable returning seniors for Camden include Anna Mattix (wing midfield), Haley Loyd (defense), Megan Bonilla (goalkeeper) and Abigail (McDougald (defense).

Leslie noted that the team will be led by the senior group.

“With seven returning juniors and one sophomore, I am expecting more input from our junior and sophomore classes,” Leslie said. “Coming off a difficult season last year riddled with injuries, the team has set goals of being more competitive and achieving a greater success than last season.”

The coach added that nearly half the team will feature new players.

Camden is off to a 1-2-1 start to the season with one of its losses to Edenton.

Camden fell to Southern Nash 2-0 at the Brittany Willis Showcase in Wilson Saturday and will face defending league champion Manteo today.

PERQUIMANS

Coach: John Manning

Outlook: In recent years, Perquimans had a co-ed soccer team that played during the boys' soccer season in the fall.

This season marks the first year of a girls-only soccer team for Perquimans.

Manning noted that the team has some strong athletes, with youth and lack of experience being some of the hurdles the Lady Pirates will have to overcome this season.

Perquimans will be led by seniors Taylor Garcia (defense and midfield) and Lauren Winslow (defense and midfield).

Both are captains and returning players from the 2017 co-ed team.

Perquimans is off to an 0-2-0 record to the 2019 season.

PASQUOTANK

Last season's record: (3-13-2, 2-6-0 Northeastern Coastal Conference)

Outlook: The Lady Panthers return players from last season's team that ended a state playoff drought with a berth into the Class 2A tournament in 2018.

Elisa Reed is one of Pasquotank's returning scorers from last season.

Mia Jernigan (forward and midfield), Sophie Clarkson (midfield and forward) and Piper Werts (goalkeeper and defense) are expected to lead the Panthers this season.

Pasquotank (0-2-1) is in search of its first win of the season after falling to Northern Nash 1-0 Saturday at the Brittany Willis Soccer Showcase in Wilson.

The Lady Panthers open conference play with a match at Hertford County today.

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