During a season that saw Kayla Tomlin explode for seven goals in a game, breaking the school record, the Eastern Brown girls soccer team as a whole made big strides forward.
The team won a pair of postseason games in dominant fashion, rolling over Northwest High School and St. Joseph High School by a combined score of 12-1 before falling to state-ranked Lynchburg in the district final.
Now, a week or so after her team’s season came to an end, it seems to be a good time to look back on what head coach Amanda Hauck described as a “roller-coaster.”
“I look at this season kind of like a roller coaster ride,” Hauck said. “We had our ups and downs due to lack of experience and injury but then we would peak and fall again. Our season may not have look as successful with a 11-6 record, but looking at everything we overcame I am very proud of how hard all my girls worked until the end of our last game.”
Going back to the beginning of the year, Hauck said her team had a few goals they wanted to accomplish.
“As a team, we wanted to strive for first in the league and stretch for the gold ball,” Hauck said. “I knew that would be a challenge being as young as we were. As a coach, my goal is always to be better the last game then we were in the first. I also wanted to go farther in the post-season, which we did.”
Tomlin’s record-breaking performance against West Union was a turning point for the team as a whole. According to Hauck, that game is when she realized the players had truly became a team.
“To me, we became a team the game [Tomlin] broke the record,” Hauck said. “It wasn’t the win or the record that got, broke [that did it], it was a freshmen who, when I asked the team if they were behind me with the idea of having [Tomlin] try to get seven goals, freshman Alli Blank looked up and said ‘Coach, why wouldn’t we? She’s our teammate.’ And in that moment, I knew I had done something right as a coach because those goal-hungry freshman knew the true meaning of what being part of a team meant.”
A few players made strong strides forward for the Lady Warriors as the season progressed. Jacey Dufresne and Madison Hopkins played extremely well defensively, despite battling injuries throughout the season. Hopkins did not play last year as a freshman either, and Hauck said she was not sure what to expect from the sophomore. In addition, a pair of current freshman caught Hauck’s eye as well.
“Alli Blank came into her own toward the end of the season,” Hauck said. “I look for her to step into a scorers role next year. The one who surprised me the most was Beka Grayless. She stepped up from a shy freshman to a seasoned varsity soccer player at the end of the year, and when I needed a player marked she is who I looked to.”
As with most teams, the seniors on the squad played a role as well. However, the Lady Warriors did not have very many players who will graduate out of the program this year, which allowed the aforementioned underclassmen to get some valuable experience.
“Our four seniors were all starters and very important to our program,” Hauck said. “Tomlin lead all scorers with 34 goals and Molly Prine did an outstanding job in the goal. Delaney Walsh played both offense and denfense and was our second-leading scorer and Morgan Holden played strong defense all season long. However, my under classmen were just as important as they comprised the majority of our starters.”
Even though the 2015 season just wrapped up, it doesn’t hurt to put a few goals down for the next campagin, even if it is a bit early to make specific predictions.
“We hope to finish top of the league and play well into the post season,” Hauck said. “I challenged all the returners to work, hard in the off season so we don’t have to as early next year. The number of wins don’t always tell a story of success, it’s how we individually and as a team build together and play at the end of the season more then the beginning.”