NPHS girls soccer preview: Joray leads young Dragons
August 10, 2012By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School
New Palestine girls soccer
Head coach: Bobby Holden (1st year as NPHS girls coach, also NPHS boys coach, record 12-6)
Assistant coach: Gina Fannin
2011 record: 17-1-3, HHC champions (2nd straight year), sectional champions (6th straight year), regional finalist, undefeated regular season (2nd straight year)
Over the last decade, the New Palestine girls soccer program has solidified itself as one of the top programs in Central Indiana. It hit a pinnacle last season, with the program’s second straight undefeated regular season, sixth consecutive sectional title and a second straight unbeaten trip through the Hoosier Heritage Conference. In addition, the Dragons won a regional game for the first time and advanced to the regional championship match.
That Dragon team was a senior-laden one, but several key players remain as NPHS boys coach Bobby Holden also takes over the girls program. He replaces veteran coach Dana Merrick, who retired from coaching in the off-season.
A pretty good place to start is a six-person senior class full of players who were key contributors to the Dragons’ success a year ago. Talented midfielder Lauren Joray, a four-year varsity performer, was the team’s leading scorer with 19 goals and seven assists in 2011. Midfielder Kristin Wagner had three goals and five assists and is the second-leading returning scorer. Midfielders Alyssa Mouzin (2G, 2A) and Katie Matus (1G) and defender Jennifer Roberts (2G, 4A) provide athleticism and strength at their respective positions. Defender Julie Hilton also played in all 21 games a year ago – she and Roberts will provide anchors for the backline.
After the graduation of 11 seniors, including college players Kalli Shepler-Tucker (IUPUI) and record-setting goalkeeper Holly Hilton (Centre), the Dragons will look to a new goalkeeper. Five goalkeepers mark the 2012 roster – Morgan, junior Felicia Gluff and freshmen Sarah Black, Alicia Petrow and Gabi Pierson.
The rest of the Dragon squad is young – goalkeeper Kenzie Morgan (167 minutes, 0GA) is the lone junior with varsity experience. But the program boats 14 sophomores and 14 freshmen who will make contributions. Included in that group is sophomore forward Madison Parish, whose 4 goals as a freshman make her the second-leading returning goal scorer to Joray. Also returning with varsity experience are sophomore forward Amy Hilton (2G, 3A) and sophomore defender Kristin Villiger.
Schedule link: www.ihigh.com/newpaldragons/document_24981.html?view