Enterprise Lady Wildcats’ soccer celebrated its 2019 season last Thursday at a banquet at the Enterprise City Schools Service Center.
Head coach Jill Harrelson reflected on the sacrifices and accomplishments of both the junior varsity and varsity squads.
“Most of these young ladies began this season in the fall with six-man practices,” Harrelson said. “As soon as we finished tryouts, they started with the six-man practices two days a week unless they were playing another sport. (There were) a lot of hours, a lot of hard work, sweat and sometimes even tears. You played and trained really hard, and hard work does pay off.”
The varsity Lady Wildcats this season finished with a record of 16-4-1. The team earned the area crown and advanced to the Elite Eight of the Class 7A State Tournament. It was the team’s 17th straight appearance in the tourney.
In total, the girls scored 82 goals, allowed 21 goals and recorded 8 shutouts.
According to Harrelson, it all started with a formation change in the offseason.
“We went from playing a 4-1-3-2 to a 3-5-2 formation this past summer,” she said. “I was watching a segment after the World Cup and I got very excited, because I felt like our team could play that system. About two or three minutes later, (Assistant Coach) Justin Tetreault calls me and he goes, ‘Did you just watch what I watched? We can do that.’ I said, ‘Yes, I think we can. It’s going to take a lot of speed, but we have it.’”
Harrelson said a few things had to fall into place to get everything organized.
“First, I had gotten a long text from Corrie Thomas introducing herself to me and saying how much she missed soccer,” Harrelson said of the now first-year assistant coach who holds four years of collegiate playing experience. “I didn’t even know she was right down the hall from me, and she told me she would like to meet with me sometime. She was interested in volunteering, and at that time we didn’t have a paying coach’s position open. About two of three days later, Justin called me with the news that his family was moving to Florida. We understood and we miss him.”
The team then took steps to have Thomas become an assistant coach on the staff.
“Coach Corrie and (Assistant Coach) Emily Davis and I, we met one day at Chick-fil-A and we talked about going over to the new formation,” Harrelson said. “Coach Corrie kind of smiled and she goes, ‘That’s the formation that I just played for four years in college.’”
Harrelson said the players were excited to try something new, and worked hard to learn their roles and responsibilities.
Members of the varsity squad were Corinna Jones, Sydney Garth, Emma Avery, Ashley Morgan, Madeline Holmes, Jessi Andress, Ashlyn Purvis, Shanya Nabarrete, Maggie Bryan, Summer Burress, Jillian Martin, Amber Patch, Morgan Harrelson, Cheyenne Piercey, Madilyn Webb, Mira Barnes, Jaden Boland, Hope Yerdon and Annabelle Camacho.
Receiving special awards were Garth, offensive MVP; Purvis, defensive MVP; Jones, Wildcat Coach’s award; Webb, Hustle and Attitude award; Harrelson, most assists; and Keegan Brown for her work as manager/photographer.
Three players -- Purvis, Harrelson and Garth -- were selected to The Dothan Eagle’s Super 12, and Garth was named the Super 12 Player of the Year.
The JV squad finished with a record of 8-2-1. They totaled 45 goals and allowed 28 while recording two shutouts.
Members of the squad were Annabelle Camacho, Emma Avery, Keegan Brown, Ines Von Mahland, Kai Thigpen, Lexie Benham, Lillian Guerrero, Taylor Himes, Madeline Holmes, Bailey Jackson, Lizzy Joreski, Kaylee Richardson, Arianne Siegel, Melissa Pejon, Alessia Azan and Ava Lamar.
Receiving special awards were Camacho, defensive MVP; Holmes, offensive MVP and Hustle and Attitude award; Avery, Wildcat Coach’s award.
“It was a pleasure to coach each and every one of you this year,” Harrelson said. “When we (the coaches) spend this much time with you -- I have two daughters of my own, but it’s kind of like all of us have 36 daughters. We spend a lot of time with them. We get attached to them, and we love them like they are our daughters.”