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Columbus North girls soccer focused on going forward
August 18, 2014Columbus North High School
A year after seeing its string of sectional championships end at six, the Columbus North girls’ soccer team is intent on regaining that crown. And, perhaps, collecting additional hardware with a deep postseason run.
Although premature to count on such laurels just yet, coach Derek Stewart and his Bull Dogs appear poised for a solid season following a 13-5-0 mark in 2013 that included a perfect 5-0 slate in Conference Indiana.
“We have the potential to be a very good team with a lot of depth in many positions,” Stewart said. “We had a lot of young players gain varsity experience last year, and that will be a big help at the start of this season. We also have a core group of seniors who we are looking to for leadership and set the tone.”
Seniors Riley Perry, Laura Anne Watanabe, Olivia Stewart and Claire Chambers are among the top players for the Bull Dogs. Perry was a top defender while also moving forward for nine goals and five assists, many coming off re-start set pieces. Watanabe is another capable defender, while Stewart, daughter of the coach, contributed two goals and an assist from the midfield. Chambers, who tallied a goal and four assists last season from the midfield, is poised to move to an attacking role this season.
Other key holdovers include junior Katie Carlson plus sophomores Natalie Teo, Addy Lang and Charlotte Verbanic. Carlson scored three goals with one assist, while Teo notched seven goals. Lang, a super-quick attacker, matched Perry with nine goals and five assists. Verbanic posted a 1.29 goals against average as the team’s primary goalkeeper last season, although she will begin this season on the sideline because of injury.
Players set for significant roles are senior midfielder Shelby Ross and junior forward Tamara Wurstle, a foreign-exchange student from Germany. Others vying for time are senior Micah Shoaf, junior Emma LaVelle and sophomores Emma Wilson, Reagan Ward, Chloe Chambers and Marina Hughes.
One player who will miss most – or perhaps all of the season – is senior Emma Risley, an all-district performer a year ago who has committed to play collegiately at the University of Indianapolis. The midfielder scored three goals last season, but she is sidelined with a knee injury that required surgery in late July. She might be able to return to action if CN can make a postseason run.
Senior Kyra Dasovich gets an opportunity in goal with Verbanic missing some early games. Dasovich had a 1.08 GAA in limited varsity minutes a year ago.
“We are excited to welcome our new players and look forward to their immediate contributions,” Stewart said. “They have been working hard and will add a dynamic dimension to our team, especially in the attacking third.”
Columbus North opens its season at 11:30 a.m. Saturday when it hosts Lawrenceburg at Richard Wigh Soccer Complex. The Bull Dogs open Conference Indiana play next Wednesday (Aug. 27) at Bloomington North and the plays Columbus East on Aug. 30.
CN competes in the Zionsville Invitational on Sept. 6, the Fort Wayne Canterbury Invitational on Sept. 20 and in the Conference Indiana Tournament on Sept. 27 at Karst Park in Bloomington.