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Farragut High School girls soccer 2005
Stephens among seniors looking to lead the way in rebuilding season

Jessie Stephens remembers how then-Farragut High School senior girls soccer players Courtney Wolfe and Carrie Clark took her, a young freshman, under their wing.

It was the fall of 2002.

“A younger person might need a little more confidence because I know when I came in as a freshman I was kinda intimidated by the whole atmosphere,” said Stephens, an All-state sweeper in 2004 who will be asked to carry a big load in ‘’05 after the loss of 13 key players.

“But when you have people telling you your doing something good and its meaningful, that really means a lot,” Stephens added. “So you just try to reach out to them and make sure they feel comfortable and make sure that they know when they do something good, make sure you tell ‘’em that.

As a leader, “I’m pretty vocal,” Stephens said. “When it comes down to the game, I think people respect you more if you play hard and put forth the effort and lead by example more than just stay on ’em the whole time. So at practice you kinda ride ’em … give ’em motivation, keep everything positive … and then in the games you play your best and show everyone how the tempo needs to be.”

Is Farragut adjusting its goals downward after losing so many players off last season’s Class AAA state runner-up team?

“The goals are definitely still the same,” Stephens said. “We’re definitely working harder and putting forth a lot more effort ’cause we know it’ll take just that much more after such a big drop-off. We know our weaknesses … we lost a lot of speed, definitely … and we’re playing more to our strengths.

“This year we’re working on team chemistry as one of our big things,” she added. “Playing as a team, not having too many individuals. We have some really good personalities on this team. This team really can get along well. All these girls work hard, every last one of them does. …”

Losing major college talent off of last year’s Class AAA state runner-up, “The biggest thing this year is for the chemistry to come together,” FHS head coach Dennis Lindsay said. “I won’t say it’s the biggest rebuilding [job] I’ve had.

“We have four coming back that started quite a bit last year,” he added. “... We do have some good players filling in — the cupboard wasn’t bare.”

However, the FHS skipper said locking down players to any one certain position is difficult because “we’re still experimenting because we lost so many.”

Lindsay said Stephens is “one of the strongest players around. She’s a dominant-type player. It depends on her. ... She’s fast, she’s got all the skills down and she plays with heart. A competitor. If she stays injury-free. ... We’ll probably have to rely on her more than we’ve ever relied on her before.”

Stephens’ versatility makes her a possible starter at any position “except goalkeeper,” Lindsay said, adding that center-midfield may be Stephens’ home if and when she returns from injury.

Senior defender Caroline Hemeter “is playing real well, she started for me last year ... pretty good skills all the way around. She’s fast, she anticipates well,” Lindsay said. Sophomore Meghan Satterfield is also in the mix defensively.

Praising the scoring ability of former Lady Ad All-state forward and University of Florida signee Katie Green, outside midfielder Catelyn Dake said, “We don’t really have anyone like her,” to score. “We’re all looking for someone to step up and be a player like her and score, because that’s what we really need right now.”

Senior forward Katy Maurer missed much of last season due to injury. “We need her, we’ll rely on her for scoring,” Lindsay said. “A very good player.”

Chelsie Dolak and Lauren Rosch “have been playing forward for me,” the coach said. Senior Jessyca Sterling will also be looking for playing time at forward.

Lindsay said junior Serena Allen is versatile, especially given that she will either play sweeper or forward. Allen is recovering from a foot-related injury.

Kathleen Jarvis and Sarah Fisher are experienced players fighting for midfield starting positions.

Lindsay labels Dake as a “very athletic” midfielder.

Senior midfielder Taryn Marashi will also be in the mix. Sophomore Shannon Schell “is a great skill player,” is in the mix for a midfield/fullback spot.

Emily Harris “is a very good defender,” Lindsay said. “I look for her to show very well this year.”

Freshman defender Alyssa Dresen “has a good possibility of starting ... she’s playing with a lot of energy,” Lindsay said. Freshman midfielder Mindy Hopkins “has a lot of skills” and can contribute “once she gets used to the high school scene.”

Goalkeeping duties will come down to senior Amanda Cramer and freshman Megan Buzzeo.

“Our goal is always to win the state, but I know Bearden and Oak Ridge and maybe West might be favored over us ... but I’m not ready to concede yet,” Lindsay said. “My goal is to go all the way. I haven’t really talked to the girls about their goals yet. But I’m sure there’s is going to be the same, they’re not going to concede.

“They’ll just have to get their chemistry together and start playing good soccer and they’ll do fine.”

Biggest concern? “Depth,” Lindsay said. “This year we have sixteen or seventeen fighting for a starting position. Last year we had about twenty-five. You’d sub and you wouldn’t miss a lot. All seventeen are in the hunt for a starting job.

“Another thing is generating goals,” Lindsay added about scoring concerns. “We might be OK in a little while, but right now we’re having trouble. ... We have a little speed, but not near as much as we had last year.

“This team is just going to have to learn to play as a team. ... You could have less players and do better possibly, if you play better as a team.”

As for lack of experience, Lindsay said he’s “not really” concerned.

“The ones this year have played soccer before, they’ve been playing for years, and they’ve got some people that’s started last year,” he said. “I subbed a lot, they got playing time last year. Most of these girls have playing time.”

As for leadership, “I think some of my seniors have shown good leadership,” Lindsay said. “I’m going to let the true leaders show. The kids know each other personally better than I do, so we’ll see who emerges as true leaders.

“I know Jessie’s going to be one of ‘em, and probably Hemeter and Maurer and maybe a couple of others.”


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