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Columbus North girls soccer seeks to continue winning tradition
August 19, 2013Columbus North High School
A new-look lineup is looking to make its mark for the Columbus North girls soccer team.
Eager to build on a strong tradition that includes six consecutive sectional championships and eight in the past nine years, the Bull Dogs will feature a combination of returnees and new faces after posting an 8-8-3 record in 2012.
Seniors Kenadie Carlson and Gabby Sims are team leaders, while others including senior Hannah Bailey plus juniors Laura Anne Watanabe, Olivia Stewart, Riley Perry, Claire Chambers and Emma Risley return with some experience. They are complemented by a quintet of freshmen, including Addy Lang, Natalie Teo, Emma Wilson, Claire Risley and Charlotte Verbanic.
Look for Carlson, Sims and Lang up front, Stewart, Chambers, Emma Risley and Teo in the midfield and Watanabe, Perry, Bailey, Wilson and Claire Risley in the back. Verbanic is slated to be the goalkeeper.
"We have a good mix of players who are comfortable on the ball and will play well as a unit," second-year CN coach Derek Stewart said. "We will have a good combination of speed and technical ability to maintain possession, attack more in one-v-one situations and play players through in the upper third of the pitch."
Carlson scored 12 goals and added five assists to pace the team a year ago. Sims added seven goals and five assists, while Watanabe contributed five goals and two assists. Stewart and Perry each netted two goals and two assists, while Chambers had two goals in just five games before suffering a season-ending injury.
"Kenadie brings an arsenal of technical skills and speed that will be hard to handle, while Gabby has fantastic speed which helps fill and create space quickly with inside and outside runs," Stewart said. "Addy brings an explosive presence with her quickness and aggressive play in the box, while Olivia can thread the needle with short combination play or long balls to target players.
"Claire is a very good transition player with great touch, while Natalie is a very talented freshman with excellent technical skills and vision. She is also very skilled at winning headers and attacking goal. Laura Anne will provide solid defense with the ability to play forward in the attacking third, and Riley is another defensive presence who provides speed and accurate long balls in transition play. Emma Risley is a versatile player who reads the game well and provides great support and balance on both sides of the ball."
Outsiders may be unsure of what to expect, but the team -- which begins its season with games Saturday against New Albany and Jennings County in the D5 Tournament -- believes in itself. Other schedule highlights include an Aug. 31 game against Columbus East, the Zionsville Invitational on Sept. 7 and the Fort Wayne Canterbury Invitational on Sept. 21.
"Our goal is to pick up where we left off last year," Stewart said. "We are a young team, but we believe we have the chemistry and teamwork to make a legitimate run in the tournament. We have had a good taste of state competition over the years, and we want this team to earn the opportunity and respect to get back to that level of competition."