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September 13, 2011

 

Eagles being chased ... again

SoccerJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cincinnatus’ Miranda Knickerbocker (11) and McGraw’s Kailey Reddick (4) are among players returning for this CCL soccer season.

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writer

While a loaded McGraw Central girls’ soccer team goes for its eighth consecutive Central Counties League championship this fall, Cincinnatus and DeRuyter, which finished second and third, respectively, in the standings in 2010 will look to close the gap.
Here’s a look at the local trio:
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McGRAW EAGLES
Coach Dave Law
The Eagles return a dozen full-time players and one post-season call-up from last season’s roster, with just two newcomers. A trio of all-league first-teamers are back in senior striker Kaitelyn Leonard (also an All-Section 3 Class D pick), the league’s top scorer last year with 22 goals and nine assists for 53 points and the team’s scoring leader with 26 goals and nine assists for 61 points; junior midfielder Nicole Purcell (3-9-15) and junior defender Allyson Augur (1-1-3).
Returning second-teamers are junior forwards Jaimee Griffin (12-4-28, second on team) and Kailey Reddick (5-5-15) and sophomore defender Courtney Purcell (1-2-4). Earning honorable mention in 2010 and back this fall are senior defenders Maddie Tucker (2-3-7) and Valentina Levitskiy (2-0-4) and sophomore defender Courtney Purcell (1-2-4).
Also back are senior midfielder Allison Field, junior keeper (converted from sweeper) Caitlin Wyant, sophomore defender Kim Horner and freshman defender Sarah Leach, who came up from the junior varsity for last year’s sectionals.
The newcomers are junior midfielder Melissa Caufield and freshman utility player (offense and defense) Brooke Guernsey.
Two first-teamers from last year are gone. Goalkeeper Hayley MacLean graduated after making 59 saves and allowing nine goals (0.50 goals-against average) last year, and sweeper Alicia Auger, a senior this year, didn’t go out for the team. Also graduating in June was second-team midfielder Alyssa Petrella (2-2-6).
“Having a new keeper and needing to move some people around and find a new sweeper are keys for us,” Law said. “Cincinnatus looks like our top challenger this season, with a lot of returning players, and DeRuyter always plays us tough. After seven championships in a row, we’ve got a target on our backs.”
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CINCINNATUS RED LIONS
Coach Lisa Schuyler
The Red Lions return 13 players from the team that went 9-3 in the league and 12-5 overall after quarterfinal loss to Poland in the Class D sectionals. Three first-team all-leaguers head up the veterans. Junior forward Bailey Rutan was second in the league in scoring with 18 goals and six assists for 42 points, while sophomore midfielder Devin Blanchard (7-4-18, tied for sixth) and sophomore midfielder/defender Mallory Cobb joined her on the elite squad.
Also back are 2010 second-teamer Jenn Rice, a senior forward (5-5-15, tied for 10th) and honorable mention Darcie Wood, a sophomore defender. Another first-teamer from a year ago, senior back Kelli Clark, will not play because of an off-season injury but is one of the team’s five captains this fall.The other returnees are senior goalkeeper Juanita Diaz, junior defenders Jessilyn Karr, Kassidy Kievit and Miranda Knickerbocker and sophomores Sydney Burritt (midfielder), goalkeeper/defender Suzie Waltz and sophomore midfielder/defender Danielle Wood (Darcie’s twin sister). Blanchard, Cobb, Kievit, Rice and Clark are this fall’s captains.
The varsity rookies are senior defender Whitney Cobb (Mallory’s cousin), junior forward Ashley Aitchison, sophomore forward Kasey Price and freshmen Kylee Gardner (defender), Chelsea Gerrard (forward), Madison Knickerbocker (forward/defender, Miranda’s sister) and forward Joleen Wingenbach.
“We’re lucky to have a core returning,” Cincy coach Lisa Schuyler said. “The girls love the game and strive to better themselves each and every time they touch a soccer ball . The new players to varsity are just as hard-working and positive and will push to be a solid team defensively and offensively.
“The returnees were disappointed in their first-round loss in sectionals last season, so as always we will work together to get to sectionals and perform at a level that will keep us alive in that tournament. Our team fits in with the race in the CCL. We want to be up at the top this season, so we will keep that as our goal and discipline ourselves to reach that goal.”
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DeRUYTER ROCKETS
Coach Tom Springer
The Rockets lost nine starters from the team that went 7-5 in the league and 9-7 overall, falling in the second round of the Class D sectionals. Among them were four all-league first teamers in forward Bridget Way, a captain who led the team in scoring and assists and was third in the league at 13-8-34; five-year goalkeeper Kayla Hampton; back Amber Slocum, also a captain, and center midfielder Amber Tucker.
Forward Danielle Cuddeback, who was the second-leading scorer on the team and ninth in the league at 5-6-16, was a second-team all-leaguer and back Megan Wheeler earned honorable mention.
Sophomore defender Emily Cirbus, an all-league second-teamer a year ago, is back, as are seniors Danielle Wood (midfielder), Taylor Campbell (midfielder-forward), Christina Harris (midfielder) and Shannon Eckler (defender), juniors Krista Lake (forward-midfielder) and Anna Conklin (defender) and sophomore forward Sidney Ladd.Cirbus, Campbell and Eckler are this season’s tri-captains.
“Emily will anchor our defense with Shannon and Anna,” Springer said. “Taylor, Sidney and Krista will provide some offense for us. Danielle and Christina will anchor the midfield positions.”
New to the varsity are senior midfielder-forward Chelsey Mahany, sophomores Hannah Downs (midfielder-defender) and Alysaah Brown (midfielder) and seven ninth-graders up from the modified program. They are forward Danyelle Campbell, defender Courtney Randall, goalkeeper Andrea Newton, forward-midfielder Ciara LaClair, defender Caitlin Haggart, forward-defender Samantha Gordon and defender Danielle Darrow.
“Ciara will have an impact up front for us, with help from Samantha and Danyelle,” Springer said. “Courtney will start at sweeper and Caitlin the other outside defense. Andrea will have the biggest shoes to fill, and a big learning curve, taking over in goal having not played there before, but in time will be very good.
“The keys for us will be staying healthy and not getting anyone hurt, and our goals are to keep getting better as the year goes on and to just have fun. I believe that McGraw and Cincinnatus will be the teams to beat in the league, followed by Otselic Valley and then the rest of the teams.”

 

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