Coach: Kristian Tyler Junker (first season)
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Record: 8-9-2 (lost in district semifinals)
Top players: Claire Henkel (sr., fullback); Danielle Kane (jr., defender); Caroline White (sr., defender); Ashleigh McMenama (sr., midfielder); Shelby Taylor (jr., forward)
Outlook: Former coach Trip Rogers was able to rebuild the program from a perennial loser to a respectable group, and new coach Junker would like to continue that climb to the top. Last season the team got over hurdles like beating a city opponent and winning a post-season game, and it has enough returning star power like Henkel and Kane to continue that trend. Also returning is Taylor, who led the team in goals scored last season. It may take time for the girls to get used to a new coach and a new style, but the core of the team is back and has vast experience playing together.
Wed.—Fayette Co. Soccer Spectacular at Paul Dunbar vs. Henry Clay, 6; Sat.—at Paul Dunbar, 8:30; Aug. 27—Tates Creek, 8;
Sept. 2—at Corbin, 6:30; 5—Sayre, 7:30; 8—Paul Dunbar, 8; 9—Paris, 5:30; 11—Harrison Co., 7:30; 15—Scott Co., 7:30; 17—Henry Clay, 8; 25—Model, 8;
Oct. 1—Mason Co., 7:30; 4—at Owen Co., 11 a.m.; 6—at Lafayette, 8.
Coach: Mebit Aragaw (third season, 12-17-8)
Record: 10-6-3 (lost in first round of region tournament)
Top players: Cassie Ransdell (sr., forward); Nina Talavera (jr., midfielder); Kayla Price (so., goalkeeper)
Outlook: Leadership from the Devils' seven seniors will be the key, Aragaw said. The team won two games in his first season and came back the next year to win 10 and advance to the region tournament. This group would like to continue that trend and keep improving. Price was a great equalizer last year, helping the defense hold opponents to just 23 goals in 19 games. Ransdell will have to take over where leading scorer Rachael Hender left off. Aragaw also is looking for big contributions from freshmen Olivia Max in the midfield as well as defenders Rachel Geil, Emily Rodes and Ginny Hoyt.
Wed.—Fayette Co. Soccer Spectacular at Paul Dunbar vs. Bryan Station, 6; Sat.—FCSS at Dunbar vs. Madison Central, 1:45; 27—at Scott Co., 7:30;
Sept. 3—Lafayette, 8; 6—Father Ryan, Tenn., 5; 9—Sayre, 8; 11—at Madison Central, 8; 13—at Boyle Co., 6; 15—West Jessamine, 8; 17—at Bryan Station, 8; 24—Clark Co., 8; 27—vs. Male, 2; 29—at Tates Creek, 7:30;
Oct. 1—at Anderson Co., 8; 6—Paris, 8.
Coach: Laura Oppegard (first season)
Record: 5-9-2 (lost in first round of district tournament)
Top players: Bethany Gowens (jr., midfielder); Kelly Hieronymus (sr., forward); Katy Coleman (sr., stopper/sweeper)
Outlook: Lafayette struggled some last season, losing several close games, but new coach Oppegard would like to see that trend end. The team is still relatively young, but the coach believes they are strong and have a lot of potential. “They work hard and don't quit when they're challenged,” she said, before noting that sometimes with a young team there are issues with self-confidence and learning from adversity. By the end of the season, the coach expects her team to surprise some other teams despite their difficult schedule and district.
Thurs.—Fayette Co. Soccer Spectacular at Dunbar vs. Tates Creek, 6:30; Sat.—FCSS at Dunbar vs. Clark Co., 11 a.m.; Aug. 25—Boyle Co., 6; 27—Sayre, 8;
Sept. 3—at Henry Clay, 8; 6—vs. Hopkinsville, TBA; 8—at Lexington Christian, 8; 10—at East Jessamine, 7:30; 13—at Bourbon Co., 7:30; 16-20—at Boyle Co. Rebel Showdown, TBA; 22—Lexington Catholic, 7:30; 24—at Paul Dunbar, 8; 27—vs. Ballard, 5;
Oct. 1—West Jessamine, 8; 6—Bryan Station, 8.
Coach: Terry Quigley (17th season, 283-137-11)
Record: 13-5-4 (lost in region finals)
Top players: Christa Hurak (sr., midfielder); Courtney Thomerson (sr., goalkeeper); Laura Hillenmeyer (sr., midfielder); Renee Rogers (sr., defender); Blair Schneider (sr., midfielder); Mary Taylor Kersey (sr., midfielder/forward)
Outlook: The Knights are No. 3 in the state for a reason, returning eight players who have a vast amount of varsity game experience. Quigley isn't sure he has the right players in the right places yet, but he believes they have the right pieces to win games against a killer schedule. In pre-season scrimmages and the Blue Grass State Games, Catholic has yet to be scored on, thanks to a solid returning defense and three-year starter Thomerson in goal. She is the anchor for a strong defense and is good at getting the right players in the right spots to be successful. This is the first time in four years that the Knights don't have a Breathitt twin to count on for scoring (both are headed to Mississippi), so junior Chelsea Smith will be expected to pick up the load as well as players in the middle like Hurak, Kersey and Schneider.
Thurs.—SON Tournament at North Oldham/South Oldham vs. Central Hardin, 7:15; vs. Oldham Co., 6:30; 28—at Highlands, 6:30; 29—Cov. Holy Cross, 7;
Sept. 6—Lexington Christian, 7; 8—Notre Dame, 6:30; 10—at Paul Dunbar, 8; 16-21—Lexington Catholic Tournament, TBA; 22—at Lafayette, 7:30; 27—Assumption, TBA; 30—at East Jessamine, 7;
Oct. 4—West Jessamine, 7; 8—Newport Central Catholic, 7.
Coach: James Jaeger (fifth season, 26-43-7)
Record: 15-3-4 (lost in district semifinals)
Top players: Maddie Boone (so., midfielder); Alex Dunnigan (sr., forward); Alison Braun (so., defender); Liz Yoder (sr., midfielder); Kelsey Ach (sr., forward)
Outlook: The Eagles took their lumps in the first few years of Jaeger's tenure, but this could be the team he's been waiting for. All of his starters are back, as is a good group of young players behind them. The team has strong possession skills and is good in transition, which makes them tough to defend, he said. Boone is back as the leading goal scorer, followed closely by Dunnigan and Ach. They could be potent up top as long as they keep working on their finishing, Jaeger said. Braun is back to anchor the defense. The Eagles have 22 varsity players, the most in Jaeger's time at LCA, which means added depth to back up all of the returning starters.
Thurs.—at Montgomery Co., 8; Aug. 26—at Paul Dunbar, 8; 29—vs. Frankfort at All “A” Region Classic, 7:30;
Sept. 2—East Jessamine, 7:30; 4—Boyle Co., 8; 6—Lexington Catholic, 7; 8—Lafayette, 8; 18—at Central Hardin, 7; 20—Boone Co., 5:30; 22—Somerset, 7:30; 29—at West Jessamine, 7:30;
Oct. 2—at Lou. Christian, 7; 7—South Laurel, 7.
Coach: Emily Coleman (10th season, 88-75-10)
Record: 9-8-3 (lost in district semifinals)
Top players: Cassie Yannelli (sr., midfielder); Leslie Davis (sr., defender); Sydney Golden (jr., defender/midfielder); Caitlin Bryson (sr., midfielder)
Outlook: The Dunbar defense was sound last year, allowing just 26 goals, but the offense struggled, scoring only 22 and losing several close games. The Bulldogs need to find more ways to score. They lost just two key players to graduation (including a longtime keeper) and will need to continue to evolve and to win those close games in a rough district. With Yanelli, Golden and Bryson, Coleman's club is strong in the middle. Coleman said her team is scrappy, competitive and ready for action. If the younger players fall in line, the Bulldogs could surprise some teams at the end of the season.
Wed.—Fayette Co. Soccer Spectacular at Paul Dunbar vs. Madison Central, 8; Aug. 23—Bryan Station, 8:30 a.m.; 26—Lexington Christian, 8;
Sept. 4—at East Jessamine, 7:30; 8—at Bryan Station, 8; 10—Lexington Catholic, 8; 13—Anderson Co., 8; 16—at Paris, 8; 20—Russell, 3; 22—at West Jessamine, 7:30; 24—Lafayette, 8; 27—vs. Oldham Co., 4; 30—Boyle Co., 8;
Oct. 2—at Tates Creek, 8; 7—at Clark Co., 8.
Coach: Ansu Sirleaf (first season)
Record: 12-7-2 (lost in region finals)
Top players: Sally Henkel (jr., sweeper); Anne Macneil (jr., striker); Devon Bradley (sr., striker); Charlotte Cornett (sr., midfielder); Karly Mitchell (sr., midfielder); Maggie Peffer (sr., midfielder); Lauren Albert (sr., goalkeeper).
Outlook: Sayre has steadily improved the past few years, and new coach Sirleaf expects it to be good again this year behind sound senior leadership at key positions. He replaces Brad Turpin, who coached the Spartans to the region tournament in back-to-back years. Sirleaf said the team's fundamental skills like passing, possession, shooting and finishing (especially Bradley and Macneil) will make the Spartans a dangerous team. He's also happy with the defense, anchored by Henkel. Areas that need improvement include corner kicks, headers and movement on and off the ball. He'd like to see the team get more aggressive, but overall Sirleaf is excited to see what this veteran group can do. “I love these players, they're good kids, very coachable,” he said.
Thurs.—at Bath Co., 6:30; Aug. 25—Frankfort, 5:30; 27—at Lafayette, 8; 29—vs. Model at All “A” Classic regional, 5:30;
Sept. 3—at Somerset, 7; 5—at Bryan Station, 7:30; 9—at Henry Clay, 8; 11—vs. Franklin Co., TBA; 22—Western HIlls, 5:30; 24—at Scott Co., 7; 26—at Lou. Collegiate, 6; 29—Clark Co., 5:30;
Oct. 1—at Harrison Co., 7; 4—Tates Creek, 11:30 a.m.; 7—East Jessamine, 5:30; 9—Bethlehem, 5:30.
Coach: Amanda Christensen (fourth season, 21-11-10)
Record: 9-7-2 (lost in first round of district tournament)
Top players: Jenny Kirchner (sr., sweeper); Cady Sims (sr., defender); Kathryn Murray (jr., goalkeeper); Lauren Fessler (jr., midfielder); Alyssa Kruse (so., midfielder/forward); Jessica Cater (so., defender).
Outlook: Christensen's team comes in with a No. 21 ranking and returns a good bulk of its players from last year. The coach has seen the players improve “technically and mentally throughout the year” and expects them to be a strong group by mid-season. Youth is still a factor for the Commodores, who have 11 players that are sophomores or younger. Christensen named at least six incoming freshmen who will be expected to contribute big minutes by the end of the season. The coach is counting on some of her more experienced players to make the transition easy and help the youngsters learn how to work together within the system.
Thurs.—Fayette Co. Soccer Spectacular at Paul Dunbar vs. Lafayette, 6:30; Sat.—FCSS at Dunbar vs. Danville, 9:30 a.m.; Aug. 25—at West Jessamine, 7:30; 27—at Bryan Station, 8;
Sept. 3—at Scott Co., 7:30; 6—at Ashland Blazer, 3:30; 8—Anderson Co., 7:30; 10—Woodford Co., 7; 15-20—at Boyle Co. Rebel Showdown, TBA; 22—at Bourbon Co., 7:30; 27—South Oldham, 6; 29—Henry Clay, 7:30;
Oct. 2—Paul Dunbar, 8; 4—at Sayre, 11:30 a.m.; 7—Western Hills, 6.