Following a one-win season, Lawrence High’s girls soccer players are ready to turn the page. With the stability of several returning starters, there was a different mentality during the preseason as the Lions try to move past all of their struggles a year ago.
The Lions will face Pembroke Hill in their season opener at 5 p.m. today at LHS.
“From Day One, we’ve told the girls that we are absolutely pushing them and that last year was about building the program and getting girls excited about the program,” second-year coach Justin Young said. “This year is about putting more ‘W’s on the schedule.”
LHS will have a strong defensive core led by senior goalkeeper Alex Ewy, who has signed with Emporia State. Three of the four defenders are returners, highlighted by senior Danielle Campbell.
“That really helps because we know how to play together and with communication,” Ewy said. “The assistant coach we hired, Matt Anderson, is like a defensive specialist, so that’s really helped us, too, to have someone specifically work with the defense and work on formation. I feel like this year, we’re just hungry for (wins). We’re ready to go out there and be aggressive.”
The Lions will look to senior Addison Campbell to spark the offense, while also relying on Keeli Billings. LHS scored only seven goals in 17 games last year.
“I think our offense is going to be a lot better,” Addison Campbell said. “I think we’re going to get after the ball a lot more and try to score a lot more goals and have a more offensive game rather than defensive.”
Freshmen midfielders Carson Drake and Skylar Drum are expected to make an impact, along with Micaela Riley and Cortlynn Stark.
“This year we definitely have a lot more girls who after last season decided to commit more time to playing,” Young said. “As a team, we’ve become more understanding of what needs to be going on, and the girls are really buying into the things that we’re asked them to do.”
Despite opening the season only a few days after spring break ended, the Lions are determined to have a good start to the year.
“We’ve improved a lot,” Danielle Campbell said. “It’s hard to tell until the first game, but we’ve improved quite a bit with our focus and technical ability.”