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Defending champ BHS young

Amy Porter went from the back burner to the frying pan of Tennessee high school girls soccer when transferring from McMinn County to Bearden prior to the 2006 season. An All-state forward for the Lady SoccerDawgs who, as the team’s leading scorer last season, led BHS to the Class AAA state title, “I came to Bearden High School, and I was pretty nervous,” said Porter, a junior. “There was going to be a lot of pressure put on me. I knew I had to try hard and work hard.

“I got to choose a school, and I knew Bearden had a pretty good reputation for being good at soccer,” Porter added. “There’s nothing that compares to a state championship.”

Though Porter and other key Lady SoccerDawgs return for ’07, 18 of the 29 team members are either sophomores or freshmen.

“We know we’ve got a lot of younger players, and it’s going to be a little bit tougher than it was last year,” said Porter, who scored 23 goals last season. “But as long as well all step it up, and the older players help the younger players, we’ll do really good this season.

“I’m probably going to have to step it up a little bit more than last year,” Porter added. With 25 goals at MCHS her freshman season, a school record, “I hoping by my senior year I might hit the 100 mark.” To do that, “I need to be more aggressive with my attacking and take people on, taking defenders on,” the junior said. “Last year I liked to pass a lot and play the safe game.”

Porter, who’s been playing since age 5, said she wants to play Division I college soccer. Dealing with soccer burnout for short time, “I just had to come to my senses and realize that soccer’s what I love and what I’m all about,” Porter said. “If I expect to do anything in life, I just need to keep going at what I’m really good at, and that was soccer.”

In addition to the youth, BHS head coach Eric Turner pointed out, “Some of those upperclassmen didn’t play a lot last year.”

Turner, entering his 10th year as head coach (129-46-23 overall record with the BHS girls program), said 2007 is a “massive rebuilding” job, scoring it a “seven” out of 10-point difficulty scale. Two of Bearden’s five returning starters, defenders Sara Rochester (senior) and Taylor Cravanas (sophomore), are out due to injury.

Rochester, a three-year starter out with a broken ankle, is expected back sometime in September, Turner said. Cravanas tore an ACL last season and isn’t expected back until the “late August” to “mid-September” range.

“We’re going to be young, but I think we’re going to have a lot of depth, talent and work rate,” Turner said.

Defensively, senior goalkeeper Sarah Canter, junior defender Tessa Batchelor and senior midfielder Jenni Gordon return. Sophomore Kirsten Bodker “will play defensive mid or outside mid.”

Junior Caroline Lutz will start at outside midfield, Turner said. Senior Lindsay Pompilio returns at outside midfield, but could move inside if needed, Turner said. Junior Carrie Dance “will be playing the middle ... or outside.”

Pompilio said during her BHS career, “I’ve become stronger and more verbal and a better leader and teammate in general,” adding she’s even in better shape for her senior season.

Other defenders in the mix, Turner said, include junior Kate Beil, sophomore Emily Hill and freshmen Caroline Gianeselli.

Senior Brenna Mayfield will see extensive time “somewhere in the midfield,” Turner said. Also in the midfield mix is freshman Beth Aaser. “We’re looking for a lot of minutes from Beth,” Turner said. Freshman Julie LaForce is also expected to play.

Sophomore Allison Everett is a transfer from Iowa. “We expect her to get some playing time too at midfield or outside mid.”

Alongside Porter at forward, “We’re tentatively looking at [freshman] Samantha Turner and [sophomore] Ashley Howarth,” coach Turner said. “We’re thinking they can add a lot to the game.” Anna Gray is another freshman forward looking to play.

A tough non-district schedule includes three 2006 state champs.

Overall, “We think we’ve got a pretty resilient bunch,” Turner said. “Towards the end of the year we should have things ironed out and ready to go.”

Other team members are junior Kate Heminway, sophomores Courtney Johnson, Lauren Nagel and Nicole Galante, and freshmen Summer Wittmer, K.J. Brooks, Rebecca Evridge and Avery Viagas.

Assistant coach is Linda Radcliffe.


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