The Independence women’s soccer team is looking for a repeat of last season. The team qualified for the playoffs for the first time in two decades. The Lady Patriots won the most games in Independence girls’ soccer history in 2016. Coach Tyler Gibson has seven starters returning, which gives the team a solid foundation.
The squad has their three top scorers returning, Annaliese Shelley with 16 goals, Hope Hunter with 12 goals, and Kelsey Esquivel with 12. The two top assist leaders are back as well: Hope Hunter had 10, while Kelsey Esquivel 9 last year. Also, senior Geralyn Love is expected to make a major contribution this season, along with senior Riley McClain as the goal keeper. Other seniors who will contribute are Taylor Williams, Kristina Rodriquez, and Hailey Spath.
However, the team is loaded with underclassman who are expected to make a positive impact upon the team. Megan Gottlieb, a junior, will get a lot of playing time, while sophomores Hannah McClain, Mikayla Lamb, and Morgan Short are ready to make a difference. Juniors Cassidy Nelson and Alex Andrews will make a contribution during the season.
The freshmen class is solid with Devon Simcox, Holly Hunter, Jessica Alexander, and Jazmine Draughn. These youngsters are ready to play at the varsity level and will be gaining valuable experience.
The expectations for this season are to take it day by day and game by game. The team has a good mixture of experienced players and some good young talent. However, they still need to find the right combinations that will be the most productive against some tough conference competition. “We decided not to set any long term goals this year. Long term goals can make teams look ahead and forget about what’s important here and now,” said Coach Gibson. “With this group in particular, we are focused on the task at hand.”
The team’s major fundraiser this year is the Goal-A-Thon. If interested in supporting the independence girl’s soccer team, you can reach their players and coaches. Coach Gibson’s e-mail is tylerj.Gibson@cms.k12.nc.us. Also, there is more information available by visiting the Independence girl’s soccer page at cmsathleticzone,com on the Goal-A-Thon.