03/17/09 — WCDS soccer set for big year

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WCDS soccer set for big year

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 17, 2009 1:46 PM

Baron Heinemann does not want to hype his team too much.

But the second-year Wayne Country Day girls' soccer coach knows this year's squad has the chance to surpass last season's success. The Chargers reached the semifinals of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs.

However, Heinemann remains mum about any expectations for 2009.

"It's not because I don't know the answer, but because whatever I say simply seems either too cocky or too mediocre," said Heinemann. "I expect these girls to play the best soccer they've ever played. With that expectation, they should win the conference and have an excellent shot at winning the state championship.

"I feel like all that stands in their way is chemistry. If they stay together as a team, they'll be an awesome group."

Ten starters return this season, including six seniors.

The lone position Heinemann has to fill is sweeper and that duty belongs to underclassman Georgia Tanner, who plays that spot on a traveling squad.

"It wasn't too difficult of a decision to put her in that position," said Heinemann. "It is easier to fill the position of fullback than of sweeper. We have a couple of options that we're still hashing out, but the defense looks strong at this point."

Back in goal is all-conference performer Ellen Elmore, who notched 86 saves and seven shutouts a year ago. Tanner will defend in front of Elmore along with Kayla Flanagan and Shelle Anderson. Anderson earned all-conference and all-state recognition as a junior.

Returning to the midfield is all-conference honoree Brooke Norris, freshman Catherine Ford, Sterling Coggins and Kim Martell. The forwards are Mack Thompson and Danielle Holland.

Heinemann expects to receive quality minutes from reserves Becca Thompson, Katie Etheridge and Laura Balmer.

"(Everyone) seems to be picking up right where we left off," said Heinemann. "We are a well-rounded team ... no standout players. We have players that are stronger than others, but together they are a team.

"Our creativity on offense and the strength of our goal keeper are some of our biggest advantages."

Ten Chargers scratched in the scoring column last season, led by Mack Thompson's team-high 12 goals. Wayne Country Day won 10 games by two or more goals and compiled a 6-2 record on its home pitch.

Heinemann's squad finished 13-4-2 record overall, including an 8-1-1 worksheet against Coastal Plains Independent Conference opposition. The Chargers' season ended with a 2-1 loss to Faith Christian of Rocky Mount, which settled for runner-up honors to Community Christian in the state finals.

With an explosive collection of players capable of having sparkling moments as individuals, Heinemann eagerly anticipates today's season opener against Faith Christian-RM. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:45 p.m.

"These girls make it very easy to be their coach," said Heinemann. "They listen in practice, ask questions that show they truly want to be better players and they play the way I instruct them to play.

"They are one hundred percent coachable. I hope my players will start the season with the same confidence they had at the end of last season."

Only time will tell.