As the coach of one of the state’s most successful soccer programs, Coach Ryan Radcliffe deals with a problem every year – the departure of a highly-decorated senior class.
The good news? It just means another talented senior class has to get ready to accept the leadership burden.
This year is no different, and this group of seniors prides themselves on not just their ability, but also their chemistry and belief in one another.
“Playing with the same group over the past four years has allowed us time to grow and earn trust in one another,” senior Ashtyn Glover said.
Glover is currently on the Adidas All-American watch list.
Coach Radcliffe is looking to the seniors to provide leadership and take the team to the next level.
“We’ll rely on the seniors,” Coach Radcliffe said. “Our backbone is going to be in Ashtyn and Kendall (Scott) straight through the middle and Abby (Mink) in goal.”
Last season, the girls went 13-4-3, and this year they look to improve that record and make it to state. Losing several athletes who are now playing at the collegiate level doesn’t make that an easy task.
“We lost our leading goal scorer and kind of our glue in the middle,” Coach Radcliffe said. “That’s hard to replace because losing those two is kind of the same as losing five or six players, with the production that those two had.”
The Lady Bulldogs have started the season 3-1. The only blemish on their record is a 1-0 loss Saturday to Ohio state finalists Springboro. They beat West 4-0 on Tuesday with a brace from Abby Brewer and additional goals from Emily Carlevato and Grace Roddy.
They play Morristown East at home on Thursday.
It will definitely be a tough journey to state, but Glover and Scott think the team’s chemistry will help them tremendously.
“A part of what makes us work so well together is that we all consistently go out there with the same goal and hold each other accountable in order to achieve,” Glover said. “It’s easy to say that the bond of our team goes beyond the game itself, and that’s another reason why I have faith in our team to get results over the upcoming weeks.”
Added Scott: “Playing with the same people for four years allows you to create compatibility and trust. I know that each person is on the field doing their job and that if I mess up, they are covering me.
“Because of our tight bond and the trust we’ve built up over the years, there’s nothing I want more than to make my them proud every game.”
The girls’ expectation for this year is nothing less than to win state, and they all are confident that this can be accomplished.
“They’ve seen what the boys have done in terms of winning state, and I think they’re ready to make their mark and leave their own legacy,” Coach Radcliffe said.