By Luke Wiggs, Panhandle News Network Sports
MARTINSBURG, W. Va – The 2021 campaign was fruitful for the Spring Mills girls soccer team. They posted a record of 13-3-3 and made a deep postseason run.
The calendar flipping to 2022 presents new challenges to the Cardinals but first-year head coach Haley McDonald seems full of optimism just days away from the start of the season.
“I have a lot of new players this year,” McDonald said. “But I also have a lot of returning leadership, and this is a strong group.”
Growth has been seen throughout for the Cardinals who were able to add a junior varsity team back into their program.
McDonald has been easing in tactically for this upcoming year with multiple options at her disposal.
“We’re exploring options in practice and we have multiple options.” McDonald said. “At this point, we haven’t figured out what’s best for us but everyone is adjusting pretty well.”
A squad bursting with talent, look to see several different Cardinals find their way onto the score sheet this season.
“I’m looking for Abby Johnson to be a scorer for us, probably Sarah Rader, taking some long shots from midfield,” McDonald said. “Corinne Edsell who has a strong presence on our outside wing, and Carissa Ring in the midfield as well.”
Brenna Hockensmith returns to anchor a strong back line along with Leyla Stanley. Channing Jones and Chelsea McIntosh also figure to be versatile players in both defense and midfield and possibly even between the sticks.
“It’s truly up for grabs and we have multiple people interested.” McDonald said about who the next Spring Mills goalkeeper could be. “I’m still waiting it out but I’m pretty excited.”
As always, the difficulty of the EPAC conference was a topic of discussion as they were tied for the lead for wins (13) among girl’s programs with Washington.
“It’s such a tough conference with very experienced coaches so I have my work cut out for me.” McDonald said. “I know there’s some great competition for us and we’ll have to prove ourselves this year.