Jr. Lady Cyclones reloaded and ready for challenges ahead
Published 9:51 am Tuesday, August 18, 2015
After back-to-back seasons of finishing in the top two of the Little Eight Conference, the T.A. Dugger Junior Lady Cyclones girls soccer squad is not expecting to take a step back.
In 2014, it came down to penalty kicks to settle the issue with Liberty Bell ,and second-year head coach Shelby Kind believes her team can get back there and possibly beyond.
“I was extremely proud of how we finished last year,” Kind said. “We lost some good players to graduation, but I am excited about the girls that have responded to our tryouts. With some of those players contributing, along with some good returning players, I think we can be competitive again.”
Some of those returning players are leaders on both sides of the ball with forwards Maggie Johnson and Lexie Brown bringing goal scoring and attacking prowess.
“Those two are key players as we run two forwards with four midfielders and four defenders,” Kind said. “They are very talented and always looking to push the ball forward.” Kind admits that not all positions have been nailed down and said that it would “work itself out.”
The Lady Cyclones have their middle school Jamboree next Saturday at Liberty Bell where they will see who steps up to claim a position. For now Kind is relying on returnees like Kaylen Shell who will be a center midfielder, but could be used at many spots.
“Kaylen is such a good athlete all around that I will move her around a little bit to use her athleticism to it’s best advantage,” she said. “She has a strong leg and I will probably use her on corner kicks and free kicks. She can turn the field around quickly. I am still working them out on the back line and midfield, but Kaylen will be at one of those spots.”
In goal, coach Kind has Reagan Armstrong who was a find last year, her first year between the posts.
“She has great anticipation and holds her line very well,” she said. “She knows when to come out and challenge and has a strong leg for goal kicks. I had a different player doing that last year, but she has graduated, so Reagan or Tayla Dugger will do that.”
Dugger will man one back line position and Kind knows she can be physical and can turn defense to offense very quickly with her booming kicks.
“She has a very strong leg and can clear the ball even from deep in our end,” Kind said. “This is a great time for me because I have flexibility and will allow the girls to show me where they play best. The jamboree will be a great time for me to try the new players at different positions and see how they take to it.”
New teams have been added so the early schedule hasn’t been hammered out yet as Hampton Elementary and Rogersville will be new to the pitch and Kind is ready to see how they perform.
“We may have to move some games around before the schedule gets settled,” she admitted. “So, I don’t have a precise schedule just yet. I am hoping that after the jamboree and I have a chance to talk to the other coaches that we can get that done.”
With 16 players making the final cut, Kind has some depth to work with and one new player she was looking forward to seeing more from is Emma Honeycutt.
“She did great at the tryouts,” Kind said. “She can really run and she kicks the ball well. She seems to be a very good all around athlete. I think I have a pretty good group of kids and we’ll move forward and see where we stand at the end of the day.”