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The Andrew Jackson Lady Volunteers’ soccer team, at 6-2 and ranked No. 7 in Class AA girls, has first-year coach Lee Hanna pleased to this point in the season.
“At this point, we have done very well as a team,” said Hanna, who is assisted by Kim Threatt. “We are midway through the season, and I feel that we have a good schedule the rest of the way in which we can benefit from greatly.”
AJ’s losses have come to Class AAAA county rival Lancaster in a narrow 2-1 setback and Indian Land, ranked third in Class AA girls.
“I am pleased with what we have accomplished so far this season,” Hannasaid. “I believe we can also surprise ourselves with what else we can do, but we just have to strive to reach those goals and work hard.”
The Lady Vols’ 16-member squad includes seniors Crystal Hayes, a midfield starter, and Michaela Helms, who is sidelined for the rest of the season with an injury. Hayes has a goal on the season.
The AJ juniors are captains Taylor Blackmon, a defender, and midfielder Ana Grace Catoe, who has three goals.
Blackmon leads the Lady Vols with nine goals this season.
“Taylor is the type of player who can play anywhere on the field and excel,” Hanna said.
Junior starters include midfielder Myranda Myers, Gracyn Caldwell on defense and striker Savannah Fletcher, while Liz Plyler provides key depth on defense. Myers and Fletcher have each tallied a goal this season.
Sophomore starters are striker Rebecca Hinson, keeper Ina Roberts, and Savanna Catoe on defense. Hinson has four goals this season, while Roberts has been solid at the net with 28 saves and five shutouts. Catoe also has four goals.
Freshman starters include Bailey Walker on defense and striker Cheyenne Blackmon, who has tallied eight goals.
Midfielder Kristen Blackmon and Claire Estrada provide midfield depth and Brianna Williams adds defensive depth.
“The girls have been working hard all season. We started back in November with the time we had to get the balls out and worked on somethings,” Hanna said. “Since December, we conditioned three times a week as a team. During this time I think the girls started to get to know each other and they have become close friends. My assistant Kim Threatt and I started to see the strengths of what we had and we started working to get better.”
Hanna noted the Lady Vols’ strengths.
“Our defense is our biggest strength this season. Our strikers are starting to hit their groove together as a unit,” he said. “Our midfield needs some work, but we just have to keep striving to get better.”
Hanna is confident about the rest of the AJ season.
“The remainder of our schedule looks very good for the second half of the season,” he said. “We have Indian Land and Lewisville coming first this coming week. I know that they are in the same boat as us coming off spring break, so it will be a chance to get things going again.”