Scott County girls’ soccer went a couple of seasons without continuity or experience, two ingredients that are essential to challenge in the 11th Region.
Two years ago, the Lady Cards had only three seniors on the roster in a season that saw them play for two different head coaches.
Last year, complicating matters for first-time varsity coach Scott McKelway and a youthful group with only four seniors were a rash of injuries, most of them striking down major players before the season ever got off the ground.
To say SC has paid its dues is putting it mildly. The fruits of that investment could be evident in the new campaign, which began Monday night at home against Great Crossing.
Twelve seniors, including several who have played a role on the varsity since their freshman year, are motivated to make a run at longtime nemesis Henry Clay for 42nd District supremacy.
In addition to the return of last season’s three top scorers — Olivia Burgess (11 goals) and Abby Herald and Reagan Oliver (five each) — the Lady Cards expected to regain Jasmine Giddings. She missed her junior season with a knee injury after scoring 13 of SC’s 32 goals as a sophomore.
Giddings will be out of the lineup again, along with classmate Callie Haywood, after another preseason ailment.
Scott County also should be stellar on defense, where Grace Barnes, Jordan Hill and Sierra Simpson saw action in all 18 games last year in front of Emily Harbison, who enters her third season as starter.
Harbison served up six shutouts two years ago, back up by a pair last fall.
Eliza Keeth, Alex Flynt and Haywood also were multiple goal scorers in 2018.
SC will play its customary rugged schedule, continuing with three games at the Fayette County Spectacular this weekend.
Road trips to Collins and George Rogers Clark also will be stern tests.
The Lady Cards scored 23 of last year’s 38 goals in three wins over Western Hills, Bryan Station and Harrison County.
Consistency against tougher rivals has been a missing ingredient, but with experience and (knock on wood) health, SC should be poised for a run at the district and region titles this fall.
Scott County girls’ soccer
Scott McKelway (second year)
Last year’s record
6-12-1, lost in 42nd District semifinals
Emily Harbison (G)
Gillleyanne Barnes (D)
Jordan Hill (D)
Sierra Simpson (D)
Meghan Wilkinson (D/M)
Alex Flynt (M)
Abby Herald (M)
Haley Addington (M)
Mariana Casey (M)
Callie Haywood (F)
Olivia Burgess (F)
Jasmine Giddings (F)
Shelby Chinn (D)
Eliza Keeth (D)
Reagan Oliver (G/F)
Alyeace Geary (F)
Graciela Martinez (M)
Windy Arzola (M)
Annel Cruz (D)
Summer Scariot (D)
Kaelynn Willoughby (D)
Daelyn Morrison (M)
Kelsie Hall (F/M)
Leah Willoughby (M)
Grace Moore (M)
Chelsie Carter (D)
Kennedy Kanavy (G)
Kate Evans (M)
Audrey Keeth (M)
Trinity Jones (M)
Bryce Thornsbury (M)
Kaylie Robinson (M)
12 vs. Great Crossing, 7:30 p.m.
14 at Dunbar, 8 p.m.
15 vs. Montgomery County,
at Fayette County tourney, 8 p.m.
17 TBA at Fayette County tourney, 11 a.m.
19 at Madison Southern, 7:30 p.m.
21 at Great Crossing, 7:30 p.m.
24 at Collins, 10 a.m.
26 at GRC, 7:30 p.m.
28 vs. Bryan Station, 8 p.m.
4 vs. Lafayette, 8 p.m.
11 vs. Woodford County, 8 p.m.
14 at Western Hills, 10:30 a.m.
18 vs. Frederick Douglass, 8 p.m.
23 at Henry Clay, 7:45 p.m.
26 at Sayre, 5:30 p.m.
28 vs. Madison Central, 1 p.m.
30 at Montgomery County,
2 vs. East Jessamine, 6:30 p.m.
Armed with 12 seniors, Scott County has its most experienced team in recent memory. Having a full season under their belt with McKelway will help the Lady Cards with continuity after a spell of musical chairs in the coaching department prior to that. SC lost only four experienced players, and no players who saw significant time moved over to Great Crossing. The bad news: Haywood and Giddings already have been bitten by the injury bug, the latter for the second straight season. Injuries in general were brutal to Scott County last year, and while there is depth, the Lady Cards can’t afford to have it stretched any farther. Henry Clay has dominated the district, but there is certainly room for SC both to close that gap and make it to the 11th Region tournament after a one-year hiatus.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at email@example.com.