With expectations not set relatively high for the 2017-18 season, the Clinton Dark Horses women’s soccer team surprised many, even their head coach Jeff Smith. The team was young and will only lose one senior, painting a picture for a potentially dangerous team next season
Being young didn’t hinder them from having an amazing season, finishing the year at 19-6-1 and 12-0 in the conference they took the top spot again for the fourth straight time. Not only that they ventured into the 2A State Playoffs and advanced all the way to the fourth round.
“I was very pleased with our girls. We were a young team, so my expectations weren’t that high. We ended up accomplishing more than I expected and we ended up being better than I thought we were,” said Smith. “They got better and better as the year went on and we just continued to have success.”
Even more facts that point out how well this team came together and showed little signs of being inexperienced is how they performed overall. Averaging 4.7 goals per game, 4.4 assists, with total goals and assists of 122 and 115, respectively, their offense was strong. Defense didn’t fall behind, with a goals against average of 0.869 and 3.2 saves per games to go with it.
The Horses are on track to have a dominant team next season with only one big player being lost. Goalkeeper Edye Carr, who defended the net for Clinton, will be that lone senior. Though she’ll be hard to replace, Smith is still optimistic about his team.
“I only had one senior and that was Edye Carr, who just happens to be an All-State player. Losing her will give us a pretty big hole to fill, but we’ve got some girls coming up that are willing to play for us and give us help,” said Smith.
“Also I’m getting pretty much my whole team back and most these girls have been playing since their freshman year so we won’t be inexperienced next year,” he continued. “Aside from the freshmen coming in that will have to get up to speed, everyone knows what to expect from us so we plan to compete for the state championship.”
“Another thing I’ll say about our success is that this is a unique bunch, they worked hard and were overall really good to each other, which helped them gel as the season went on,” stated Smith.
With expectations for the upcoming season set high, preparations for the spring will start as early.
“To get ready for next year, the girls will go back to playing for their club teams during the fall and the more they play it will make us better,” Smith noted. “I’m really excited with what I have coming back and we should be able to compete for the state championship and I believe we‘ve got the girls to put it all together.”
Reach Michael Hardison at [email protected] Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.