Both programs feel they are up to the challenge and would like to be the best in class in the Big Seven Conference.
The Lady ’Blazers field an extremely young team with 17 of the 25 players either sophomores or freshmen.
Still, a couple of seniors, sweeper Abby Harrison and fellow defender Caroline Wilson, are expected to make the Lady ’Blazers tough on the short end of the field.
Ashley Starnes serves as goalkeeper, while upperclassmen are expected to be tough in the midifeld.
“Jessie Siegel is a junior who moves the ball very well,” Boone coach Steve Sessis said. “She feeds the ball forward which is something that we were lacking a little last year, that abiltity to get the ball forward. Cassidy Whitson is a senior midfielder we’re also expecting good things from.”
Sophomore Kelsie Hatcher is the team’s primary offensive threat and Sessis likes the fact she’s tough, aggressive and likes to score. He added she’s improved both her speed and ball-handling ability since last year. As for the team goals, Sessis has set one he feels is attainable.
“We would like to finish at the top of the county schools,” he said. “That is an achievable goal and we want to give those city schools a run for their money. If we can do that, it is a successful season for us.”
The Lady Pioneers have a new head coach, Tori Head, who served as an assistant to Tony Snapp last season. She’s made it a family affair with her brothers serving as assistant coaches.
With eight seniors, Head believes Crockett can improve its number of wins for a second straight year.
“I feel like we’re moving forward and not taking any steps backwards,” she said. “We have eight seniors and this team has the desire to get better. That’s something you can’t teach. It has to be in their minds and this team has that.”
That includes Patience Stroup and Lauren Maddox, the team’s primary scoring threats, and midfielder Jordan Bruni whom the coach said distributes the ball quickly.
There is a lot of experience in the back, led by senior sweeper Jordan Levassuer.
“She has a lot of experience, has played all four years,” Head said. “She knows exactly what she’s doing. Carson Phillips, our junior goalkeeper, was our backup last year and she was able to play on the field a lot. She has good foot work, better than most goalkeepers that you are going to see.”
Head said the team’s success, however, is measured more by effort than simply by wins and losses.
“The plan is for us to be competitive every game and to give it everything we have every game,” she said. “If we work hard for 80 minutes, we’re going to get results we’re looking for. It might not be wins, but it will be what we’re looking for as a team.”