Times Staff Reporter
Despite various obstructions, the Northview girls' soccer team is looking to persevere its way to a third consecutive Western Indiana Conference title.
For starters, the Knights have a new coach. Former Northview player Ahnya Alstott was given the reigns after her father, Tony, who "surprised everyone" within the program in June when he announced he was stepping down after three years with the team.
Ahnya, whose only previous coaching experience was as a volunteer assistant on last year's team, said her father has been instrumental in aiding her development as a head coach.
"He has been a wonderful asset to me," Alstott said. "He has really given me a lot of advice and has really helped me build my confidence."
Also easing Alstott into her new role is players' acceptance of her style. Returning senior captain Carlee Bell said her and her teammates were already accustomed to her style and it differentiated very little from the way her father ran things.
"(Tony and Ahnya) have the same strategy," said Bell, who was the teams second leading scorer last season. "It was an easy transition."
A big problem Alstott faces in her rookie campaign is dealing with the loss of nine seniors from last year's team, creating crucial losses that will be felt on offense and defense. Fullback Cayla Yockey and Goalie Rachel Alstott were both lost to graduation, as was leading scorer Jennifer Woodcox, who owns the school's single-season records for goals, assists and points. Alstott said replacing such integral components of last years team would not be an easy task.
Though replacing such a large number of players can prove to be an arduous task, Alstott believes her current crop of players will be up to the task, saying she has liked what she's seen from her young squad in early season practices.
One potential slip-up could be experience. Aside from having people with limited varsity experience, the Knights have two players who have never played competitive soccer before. Alstott said teaching the fundamentals to new players can be difficult, but has enjoyed it as she "has been able to teach them to play my way."
Specific players Alstott expected to "step up" this season include Breanna Fagg, Char Herr-Smith, Gwyn Snow and Shalee Hathaway, who is replacing Rachel Alstott as the team's goalie. She also expects them to learn how to win by following the lead of returning leaders Bell, Hannah Pond, Lindsay Woodcox and Lauren Webster.
The team was dealt a big blow recently when junior Bethany Wright suffered a knee injury that will keep her out six weeks. Despite the setback, Alstott said it has created a greater competitive spark in her players who now know the importance of improving their play, a crucial step for a team looking to follow up two consecutive seasons that have ended in at least a share of the Western Indiana Conference title.
"We have a title to defend," Alstott said. "I hope the girls take that seriously. I expect a winning team of girls who show high character on and off the field."
Having such a youthful roster of players could create a situation where opponents sleep on the Northview squad, and Bell says this will prove to be a critical mistake.
"There's a lot of potential talent on this team," Bell said. "All these girls have a lot of heart and that's what will get us through the season. We'll surprise a lot of people."
The Knights season begins Saturday with a Jamboree at Terre Haute North. They begin regular season play with a game at Crawfordsville on Tuesday, Aug. 18.
Girls varsity soccer schedule
|Sat. Aug. 15||Jamboree||10 a.m.|
At T.H. North
|Tue. Aug. 18||at Crawfordsville||5 p.m.|
|Thu. Aug. 20||vs. T.H. North||5 p.m.|
|Wed. Aug. 26||vs. West Vigo||5 p.m.|
|Wed. Sept. 2||vs. Danville||5 p.m.|
|Wed. Sept. 9||at Sullivan||5 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 12||vs. Greencastle||10:45 a.m.|
|Mon. Sept. 14||at Monrovia||5 p.m.|
|Wed. Sept. 16||vs. Edgewood||5 p.m.|
|Sat. Sept. 19||vs. Brown County||1 p.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 22||at Cascade||5:30 p.m.|
|Thu. Sept. 24||at S.Vermillion||5 p.m.|
|Tue. Sept. 29||vs. T.H. South||5 p.m.|
|Thu. Oct. 1||at Owen Valley||5 p.m.|
|Mon. Oct. 5||at N.Knox||5 p.m.|
|Tue. Oct. 6||vs. Southmont||5 p.m.|
|Mon. Oct. 12||at THS Sectional||TBA|
|Tue. Oct. 13||at THS Sectional||TBA|
|Thu. Oct. 15||at THS Sectional||TBA|
|Sat. Oct. 17||at THS Sectional||TBA|