SWAC girls soccer preview

SWAC girls soccer preview: Falcons will have different look

mblake@newsobserver.comFebruary 17, 2014 

Green Hope’s Kenley Sigmon (8) keeps the ball from Hough's Carmen Babcock (7) during the NCHSAA 4A Girl's Soccer Championship game between Hough and Green Hope at Dail Soccer Field in Raleigh on Saturday, May 25, 2013. Green Hope won 2-0.

CHRIS ADAMCZYK — newsobserver.com Buy Photo

  • Last five conference champs

    2013: Green Hope

    2012: Green Hope

    2011: Green Hope

    2010: Apex

    2009: Green Hope

  • SWAC spring sports preview schedule

    Feb. 23: boys and girls lacrosse

    Feb. 26: baseball and softball

    *Private schools spring preview also Feb. 26

Last year’s 4A state champions will have a much different look this year.

Green Hope, which went 28-0 en route to a No. 1 national ranking and is 72-3 over the past three seasons, hasn’t lost a regular-season game since 2011.

The Falcons graduated most of last year’s team, however, including two players – Alexis Shaffer and Alexis Degler – who combined to win four state player-of-the-year awards over their last two seasons. There is also a new coach, as Michael Hoy begins his first season after guiding the boys team to the 4A East final in the fall.

Seniors Amanda Lasater and Kenly Sigmon (9 goals, 10 assists), both Elon recruits, have been vital players for the Falcons over the past two seasons and will have more chances to make an impact this year.

Panther Creek (14-4-1 last season) came close to beating Green Hope last year and returns all but one player from a year ago. The Catamounts will have four juniors who have committed to play Division I soccer: goalkeeper Celeste Barnard, Courtney Cash, defender Rachael Everhart and forward Emma Socha.

Gretchen Dettlinger and Alex Pagano are among the top Panther Creek seniors.

Holly Springs (10-5-1) finished third in the league thanks in part to all-state midfielder Dominique Babbitt (10 goals, five assists) and fellow returnee senior Kathryn Vollrath (13 goals, three assists).

Cary (8-6-2) loses some of its top players but will have junior Kyra Kandel and seniors Phoebe Shurtleff and Allison Weatherspoon.

Apex (6-8-2) eked into the playoffs last year as a young team. The Cougars will have senior Angie Reckendorf and junior Alex Graf, among others.

Middle Creek (6-8-2), led by reigning conference coach of the year Kevin Ebner, returns all-conference players in Abby Coffey and Katie Weisner (14 goals, three assists). Senior Jade Loftis also returns.

Senior Riley Nociti (11 goals, two assists) leads the way for Athens Drive (4-10-2) along with all-conference selections Daria Draovitch, a sophomore midfielder (three goals, two assists), and Natalie Van Genderen, a junior defender.

Although Fuquay-Varina (4-11-1) was near the bottom of last season’s conference standings, it returns four of its top five scorers. Seniors Christina Oliveres and Valerie Biesack join all-conference junior midfielder Katie Cockerill, junior Rebekah Furr and sophomores Megan Greene (nine goals, four assists) and Kelley Suggs, who have both committed to play at Charlotte.

Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps

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