By Mike Aldridge, Sports writer
Kevin Gaunce begins his first year as head coach of the Harrison County Fillies soccer team with a solid nucleus of players.
Former Coach Kim Jenkins gave up the post after nine years at the helm. After her supposed replacement, Jeff Kinney, changed his mind Gaunce took over.
The Fillies return four seniors, six juniors and three sophomores, all who garnered a lot of playing time last year.
This group will have to fill in the spots left by the five players that graduated in the spring. Haley Carr, Taylor Fry, Madelyn Judy, Marly Jenkins and Elizabeth Brooks left the program after their senior season and left a void which the new squad will have to fill.
Fry is enrolled to play soccer at the University of Tennessee Martin as the only one of the five who went on to play college soccer. Carr is running cross country and track for Georgetown College.
Gaunce has his goal keeper returning as senior Chelsea Ingram is back to fill that position. Ingram has been one of the better keepers in the area in her previous seasons.
The defense seems to be solid with senior Morgan Puckett and juniors Kayla Ford, Taylor Landrum and Mary Levi bringing experience to this position along with sophomore Chandlyr Puckett, who played a lot as a freshman last year.
The mid fielder position also seems to be a strength for the Fillies as senior Hannah Thomas is joined by juniors Amelia Bolin, Marie Bowen and Tarah Martin along with sophomore Lexi Fryman as experienced players.
One newcomer to the mid fielder position is senior Kassidy Cook, who brings state sprinter class speed to the field as well as tremendous athleticism. Cook’s one drawback is her lack of experience.
Only senior Taylor Martin returns at the forward position. The Fillies will have to count on two freshmen, Kelby Gaunce and Jordan McDaniel, to quickly get up to varsity preparedness.
McDaniel, however, is injured so the team is short in numbers at the forward spot. Freshman Olivia Partin will serve as Ingram’s back up at the goal keeper position.
“We intend to play a possessive style of soccer,” said Gaunce. “But we will look for opportunities to play direct when our speed allows us to do so.”
The Fillies battled Pendleton County for the district title last season and Gaunce expects the Lady Cats to be a solid contender again this year.
“I expect the region to be similar to last season with Bishop Brossart, Campbell County and Bourbon County making up the teams to beat,” surmised Gaunce. “We should be competitive along with Pendleton County, George Rogers Clark and possibly Montgomery County.”
The 2014 season begins with two Soccerama scrimmages on the road.
The Fillies travel to Falmouth on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. and to Frankfort for another Soccerama the following Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. The regular season starts on the road at Mason County on Monday, Aug. 16, with a JV/varsity double header beginning at 6 p.m.
The first home match will be with Madison Central on Thursday, Aug. 21, in a varsity match only beginning at 6:30 p.m. All home games will be played at the Athletic Complex on the Hilltop.