WEST ALEXANDRIA — New Twin Valley South girls’ soccer coach Dustin Zimmer is going into the 2016 season with a strong group of players. He inherits a team which went 10-3-3 overall last season and returns a number of strong players eager to win the Cross County Conference.
It won’t be easy.
Gone from last year’s team are two All-CCC first-team players, Morgan Newhart and Victoria Denlinger. But the team is experienced, having eight seniors who will lead the team, and eight lettermen.
Abby Creech is a standout senior athlete who was named to the 2015 All-CCC first team and is a team captain.
“We’ve worked on our footwork this season,” said Creech. “We won a lot of our games and were a strong team, but we missed winning the conference championship. I’ve been playing since age four, so it’s been a long time. I’ve improved a lot and am proud of what I have become because of soccer.”
“I just let the younger players know what to expect. I see us being a good team, but we still have things to improve,” senior and All-CCC second team selection Sophie Cottingim said.
Erika Dillhoff missed a significant amount of playing time last year due to injuries, but the senior is now healthy and eager to show what she can do. Senior co-captain Lacey Emrick will be joined by fellow seniors Mikaela Meyer, Megan Wright, Sydney Vorhis, and Ava Watts.
Sophomore Kassidy Whaley earned honorable mention last year and is expected to continue her play. The remainder of the team includes sophomores Abby Robertson and Abby Bailey, and freshmen Kaylee Gibson, Maggie Johnson, Jessica Janecek, and Courtney Johnson.
“We are top heavy and bottom heavy in the ranks,” said Zimmer. “So it’s good and bad in many ways.”
“We are going to play a simple game; we can’t be vulnerable if we don’t play our style of game,” Zimmer said. “Communication and getting back on defense will be the key. If we can do that, we should be pretty good. My expectations are just like that — we should be pretty good with the seniors we have back. I don’t expect anything less and we should be able to play our best in every game.”
South was scheduled to begin its regular season with a road trip to Miami Valley on Friday, Aug. 19, but the game was postponed due to poor weather conditions. The Panthers were scheduled to visit Middletown Madison on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH.