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Graduation took a toll on the Indian Land Lady Warriors’ soccer team, but IL coach Mark Bonda said the Lady Warriors are making progress this spring.
“Going into this season we knew we would be a young team,” Bonda said. “We graduated eight seniors which left a lot of key positions open.”
One of those positions was goalie.
“We were unsure who would take the job,” he said. “Fortunately, sophomore Bella Mia decided to play this year.
“She has done a wonderful job so far recording five shutouts and 67 saves on the season. Her GAA is 1.16 for the season.”
Bonda said she is complimented by IL’s defensive core seniors Lexi Watkins and Kayla Christian along with junior Hannah McGinn. Christian won the team’s Unsung Award and McGinn earned the Most Improved Player Award.
“Last season, we changed formations so it took a while for the kids to pick up the positions. A lot of our midfielders roll back as defenders, which we struggled with at times,” Bonda said. “This season the kids have really embraced the formation and we are seeing good results. We run three strikers up top which gives the opposing team’s defense a headache. It’s designed to score lots of goals and we average just over four goals a match.”
The Lady Warriors’ central midfield is made up of sophomores Kayla Groll, the junior varsity Warrior Award winner last spring, and Raquel Addamo.
Freshman Jae Cooney has also been a key in IL’s offensive attack this year.
“Our outside midfielders are led by seniors Mary Brown and Haleigh Zimmerman who provide wonderful leadership to our younger girls, which is a lot,” Bonda said. “Our team is made up of six seniors, one junior, eight sophomores, and two freshmen.
“This year’s team is a very talented group and eager to succeed,” he said.
The IL girls placed third out of 12 teams in the Pendleton Invitational soccer tournament earlier this season.
The Lady Warriors have been ranked in the top 10 in Class AA each week this season, including a No. 3 ranking, a first in school history.
IL, 9-4, is rated No. 7 in the latest Class AA girls soccer poll.
The Lady Warriors offensive attack is led by sophomore Shalyn Dougherty, the teams leading goal scorer with 25 on the season.
Sophomores Emma Gladu, Babs Marshall and freshman Kristen Carpenter join the attack.
Marshall was the Most Improved Player on the Junior Lady Warriors’ team last season.
“We have scored 68 goals on the season which speaks volumes of our players’ talent and capabilities,” Bonda said. “We have several goals for the season and have been able to reach some already. One of our goals is to advance further in the playoffs. We also set a lot of individual goals this year.
“The kids have done a great job planning and executing to help reach their goals. As a coaching staff, we are excited about our program and the growth over the last several years. We feel we have a special group and are confident we will make some noise in the Class A-AA state championship soccer hunt,” Bonda said.