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Bearden High School girls soccer 2005
With a little more scoring, pieces may be in place for state tourney title chase

Experience and depth are plentiful for Eric Turner’s Bearden High School girls soccer team in 2005.

Replacing a superstar sweeper and waiting for his experienced scoring threats to prove themselves may be the only elements keeping the Lady SoccerDawgs from being a legitimate Class AAA state champion threat.

“We’ve got basically everyone back from last year, with the exception of [sweeper] Shea Kinzer, she was All-state last year,” BHS head coach Eric Turner said. “They got a lot of playing time last year. Expectations are going to be high, and we think that defense will be solid once again. We’re looking for a little more offensive production than we had last year. If we get that, I think it’ll be a really successful year for us.

“This team did a great job last year defensively,” Turner added. “So we had that part of it down and we’ve got all those guys coming back minus Shea. ... if we possibly kick it up a notch we’re going to have a stifling defense.”

As for Turner’s biggest concern, “I’m still looking for scorers, we’ve got to have that consistent scorer, that’s what we’re looking for,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a little more offensive firepower this year with everyone healthy and everyone back. We had trouble scoring last year, but I think with the experience and the little bit of depth we have now, we’ll be able to rotate people through there more. We won’t have to leave people in the game as long.”

Depth is everywhere. “We’re going to have great depth, that has to be one of the things that’s going to help us this year,” Turner said, a factor that could off-set injuries — a big problem last year.

“I don’t think we had the same starting lineup more than two times due to injuries,” Turner said while emphasizing that the 2005 Lady SoccerDawgs’ health “is clean” as of mid-August. “Thirty-six healthy players, and hopefully we’ll keep it that way all year.”

Turner said he’s expecting “another great year” from senior All-state goalkeeper Sarah Himmelreich. “She has great hands, great height, she’s just a natural athlete. She’s constantly learning every year and getting better and better.”

Himmelreich said she thinks Bearden “can go all the way” and win the Class AAA state title. Doing that includes a responsibility to lead the younger BHS players.

“I just feel like being a senior and being on varsity for four years, that my role is to get them to that point,” she said.

Defenders include seniors Meredith Kelly, Pua Coffman — who missed “pretty much most of the season” last year due to injury — Julie Koch and junior Alex Meehan — “a true competitor with great skill and great work rate” who missed the entire 2004 season due to injury — and possibly senior Brooke Levy, “who’ll be a big contributor,” Turner said.

In addition to club soccer play, Coffman said a trip to Vanderbilt Soccer Camp in Nashville helped her learn “more moves.”

Attempting to fill Kinzer’s shoes was still a question mark as of early August. “We’re going to run three or four different people through there and see what kind of chemistry we get back there,” Turner said.

“Whoever plays sweeper has big expectations to meet,” Coffman said. “We all have a responsibility to take it to the next level.”

Midfielders include Lindsay Pompilio, “she’s coming back, she played a lot last year,” Turner said. “We’ll have Hannah Rudder, a two-year letterman, she’ll be in the middle there. Janie Dance, returning senior, she’s a three-year letterman, she’ll be back at midfield.

“And once again, there’s a host of others that we’ll have [to be] able to put in there and move people around.”

Forwards include junior Mary Alex Rochester, who is “going to have a great year,” Turner said. “She’s got great speed and great work rate. If we can get her to finish a little better, she could be one of the premier scorers in the state by the time it’s all said and done.

“She’s healthy and one-hundred percent ready to go this year,” Turner added. “Last year she was a little nicked up.”

Turner said he’s “looking for a great year” out of senior forward Sarah Bumpas. Senior Becca Graves looks to contribute as the other forward spot “is up for grabs right now.”

As for team strengths, “we’re all athletic, and we all love each other,” Dance said. “We’ve never had arguments the way I’ve heard on other sports teams.”

Leadership-wise, “No one has stepped up yet individually, but as the season goes on I’m sure someone will,” he said. “We don’t have that type-A personality everyone’s looking to. That’s what got us through last year, Shea was that kind of person.”

In addition, “we’re not going to have that one dominant player at any position, but cohesively as a team, I think that’s where our strength’s going to be,” the coach added. “The chemistry’s so good right now, that I’ll be happy to keep it the way it is and let that take us to our goal of a state championship.”

Turner said he’s got “a great freshman class” of 10, many of whom look to provide depth.

“Right now that group of seniors has been working really hard and getting everyone else on board as to what they expect and what the program expects out of the rest of the team.

Dance said that although she’s not played soccer since the 2004 BHS season, “I feel like I’m in a lot better shape now. I have worked really hard to get in running shape and working out a lot. We’ll see how my ballgame works.”


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