Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 13, 2014

Girls soccer team opens at home

Duncan enters first season as Lady Rams coach

By Paul Hines
Register-News

MT. VERNON —

The Lady Rams soccer team will be built around a younger core of players this season.

Mt. Vernon lost 10 seniors to graduation. This year the Lady Rams have five seniors with a smaller roster of 21 players compared to past seasons. First-year coach Jim Duncan said Mt. Vernon may go without a junior varsity team.

In the early weeks of practice, Mt. Vernon has focused on conditioning, skill development and learning Duncan's system.

We've been outside I guess for about a week and a half been battling through the weather,” Duncan said. “But we've got some quality practices in, and it's going pretty good so far.”

Duncan said he was still formulating which players will start at each position, but added that seniors Kirsten McGowen, Molly Koester and Katie Aaron each will be team leaders. McGowen and Koester have both consistently started in the past.

Sophomore Amelia Quinn will be the team's keeper. She takes over for Paisley Stewart, who graduated.

Amelia's a tall girl, very aggressive, got pretty good hands,” Duncan said. “We've been working with her punting and kicking, and I think she'll be a big help for us as a keeper also.”

Quinn isn't the only sophomore expected to contribute for the Lady Rams. Duncan said Breanna George, Alex Pigg, Asiah Curry and Kaydee Dycus will all have a role. Madalina Overstreet is also a returning junior.

I think we've got a good core group of girls that have enough experience and enough want to and enough ability to have a pretty decent season,” Duncan said.

Gabrielle Bell is back to the team as a senior. Freshman Abby Hemken and Makenna Ezell join the Lady Rams this season. Miranda Epplin, who played her freshman and sophomore seasons, is also back for her senior year.

One of the critical aspects of Duncan's system will be communication. Mt. Vernon will use four defenders, four midfielders and two forwards. He wants the defense to move away from playing as a flat line.

The midfielders will form a diamond with an attacking and defensive player. The coach said the roles aren't specifically defined but rely on recognition and communication among the group. If one makes a forward run another must drop back and defend.

Mt. Vernon opens the season at home at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against Massac County.

I think we're ready to go,” Duncan said. “We just want to go out there and kick it around for a game and see what we have.”