Depth is an asset for Lady Bobcats
By Scott Loftis
The Berryville girls soccer team reached the quarterfinals of the Class 4A State Tournament last season. Although the Lady Bobcats will have to replace some of their scoring power, there’s no shortage of talented athletes on the Berryville roster.
Berryville will open the season Monday at home against Eureka Springs.
“I feel like we’re a lot deeper than we have been, and we have some pretty good players coming back if they’ll gel,” coach Aaron Hall said. “But just like always, we’ll be moving pieces around to see what fits us best for the first two or three weeks probably until spring break. We’ve got about three weeks of games, so we’ll just put the hammer down and see what we can do and go from there.”
Seniors Taylor Swofford and Natalia Hernandez will be counted on to provide offensive punch for the Lady Bobcats.
“Taylor’s going to be extremely valuable,” Hall said. “She’s a really nice player. And Natalia Hernandez is probably as skilled as about any player in the league. The last few years we’ve had other girls taking a lot of shots. Now, she’s going to take a bunch of those because those girls are gone. So we look for her to hopefully have a good year.”
The Lady Bobcats will have a new goalkeeper and a freshman backup, Hall said.
“That’s going to be a big question mark,” he said. “We’re going to have be able to stop some. Hopefully our defense can help stop.”
Defensively, Berryville is loaded with seasoned players.
“We’ll have a ton of experience back there on the defensive side,” Hall said. “All those girls are back and we hope that will help the keeper.”
Among those experienced defenders are senior Mason Hurt and juniors Lauren Compton, Ashlee Easter and Samantha Witherby.
“Those are all girls that played lots and lots of minutes last year,” Hall said.
Junior Lilli Compton also saw a lot of playing time last season and will be counted on to play a key role this year.
“This year I feel like we’ve got a lot more depth,” Hall said. “We’ve got some checker pieces to move around and see what fits us best.”