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Veteran soccer team competes in NAC-6

Austin Julian and Charlie Byrd

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The girls’ soccer team has started their season off 1-1-2, and the girls are looking to make this season one of their best.

With leaving the dominant Cap-8, and the team being led by fourth-year varsity players such as defender Samantha Burg, midfielder Mary Brennan Page, striker Hannah Dion, and defender Allison Gauley, the team is hopeful for a successful run in the NAC-VI.

“We have a really good chance to making it to playoffs this year,” Burg said

Having these four-year players helps coach Jeremiah Mattingly’s mix of freshmen through seniors on varsity.

“It’s brought experience to the team especially because all the seniors on the team played as freshmen, so we can mentor those freshmen because we know how they feel coming into this year,” Page said.

Mattingly has some high expectations going into the new conference now that Wake Forest is seen as one of the “powerhouses” of the new conference.

“Now, our goal is to finish in the top three, every single year in this new conference, whereas before we were trying to finish in the top five. So yeah expectations are we should win it, or finish in the top three. That should be every year going forward,” Mattingly said.

Burg feels the 2018 squad has an advantage over past years.

“We’ve done really well at communicating with each other, and we’ve done really well at moving the ball and processing against other teams and this year. We have definitely become the closest we ever have in these past four years I’ve been playing here,” Burg said.

Mattingly agrees with Burg that on-field and off-field chemistry have improved.

“I would say it’s a little bit more united. I think last year the girls were not disconnected, but last year the girls were almost in little pods. They had such really good friends they didn’t expand out. I think this year we are more united as a whole team. They aren’t in little pods anymore so to speak,” Mattingly said.

With being one of the top teams in the conference, but losing two of the first four games, the Cougars know they have a lot of room for improvement. Mattingly believes the team is not far from accomplishing great things this season.

“We have moved the ball really well, and we have gotten in the position to score. We just haven’t finished off the goals: 90 percent of the battle is getting the ball to the goal and the other 10 is finishing, so we just need to finish,” Mattingly said.

Having fun while you are putting in hard work is key when trying to see positive results Mattingly said.  He thinks that if the team just has fun with putting in the work this season, big things will come.

Mattingly said, “Honestly, just playing better soccer and enjoying it. Some seasons can be the grind, and you work hard at it, and at the end, you wish you spent more time enjoying it. So, I think this year we can enjoy the season and enjoy the process.”

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Veteran soccer team competes in NAC-6