The Greenwood varsity girls soccer team reached the second round of the state tournament last year where they lost in a close battle, 2-1, to Searcy. Head Coach Andrew Post believes they have what it takes to make another strong post-season run.
The 2019 Lady ‘Dogs return Camryn Presley in goal, Molly Odell at center-back, Ella Austin at left back, Sarah White, Amber Frey, and Anna Johnson at midfield. Masheayah Moore and Bella Mora are at forward, while Emerson Lejong holds down the left midfield spot.
Greenwood’s two team captains are senior Sarah White and junior Molly Odell. Coach Post says both are on the field all the time. “They are both big contributors,” he added.
A junior, Presley was an all-state goalkeeper last season, and Mora, also a junior, was all-state at forward. Bella scored 15 goals last season and she already has six goals so far this season.
New addition Paula Barilla, a junior foreign exchange student, will be a big-time attacking player on offense for Greenwood, says Post.
When discussing the strengths and weaknesses of his team this season, Coach Post said that the Lady Bulldogs have speed with Masheayah and Bella.
“We are very fast, and there are not many teams, if any, that can match the speed those two bring,” he said. “[Barilla] is also a really skilled player at attacking, so I feel like we have three really good attacking players that can score.
“We [also] have a good core of defenders that return from last year with a lot of experience, so experience is huge when it comes to conference play,” said the coach.
Since 2012 GHS soccer has competed in Class 6A, but last year the Arkansas Activities Association reclassified all sports except for football, doing away with the 7A division in soccer and the other non-football sports.
This season the Lady Bulldogs will compete in the 5A West. Other conference teams this season include Russellville, Siloam Springs, Beebe, Little Rock Christian, Vilonia, Greenbrier, and Alma.
Post says that some [players’] inexperience in certain positions may cause problems, but those young players will continue to grow and get better throughout the season.
Kayla Rogers and Faith Bartok are both new to the program, and Post says they are both giving the team [valuable] minutes on the varsity level.
“It’s good for the future and it’s good from the aspect that I have players able to step up in that role and help us out,” said Post, referring to some of the younger players making a difference, including newcomer Sammy Stilley, who is also expected to help.
Caylee Ciesla was pulled up from junior varsity last year and she has [played] a lot of minutes this season. “We have a lot of players giving us minutes, and it’s a good problem to have. I’ve got these new players in the program that are pushing for minutes on the field,” said the coach.
Summing up his expectations for this season, Post said, “Having all the returning starters back is huge. I’ve already noticed a big difference. We are starting at a higher level at the beginning of this year than we did last year.
“It’s going to be tough, because we have a tougher conference this year than last year,” said the coach. “But I’m really hopeful about where we [will] finish, and I think that when we get into the playoffs, we will be a really good team and a really tough team to beat.”