FLS Varsity brings you the scores, stats and stories from Fredericksburg-area high school sports.
GIRLS SOCCER NOTEPAD: Young Panthers off to fast start
Massaponax girls soccer coach Tim Fetner wanted to avoid a win-at-all-costs mentality this season for his younger-than-normal team.
With a squad that includes five freshmen and six sophomores, he set out to give the girls a goal for each game to help them grow as players and as a team.
The Panthers are learning to play together every game, and as a side bonus, they’re winning games as well.
Massaponax is 4–1–1 and on pace to surpass last year’s win total of five after only six games. All this despite graduating a large group of seniors from the 2013 squad.
“I am pleased with the start, and it is a little surprising as young as we are,” Fetner said. “As far as the quality of our younger players, they have the soccer ability. It’s the maturity level I think they’re gaining every game that is really more surprising to me than their actual ability.”
Most of Massaponax’s team plays year-round, which has lessened the burden of blending five freshmen into the team. It also helped that the the freshman class bought completely into preseason conditioning.
They embraced the preseason workouts and got acclimated to things early, which has paid dividends during the early part of the season.
Fetner said the team’s goal is to send seniors Jill Corvin, the Panthers’ goalkeeper, and midfielders Tiffany Ray and Leanne Bousquet out with a trip to the postseason.
That trio of seniors has helped immensely in getting the younger players up to speed, and junior striker Kaitlin Bailey has been critical to the team’s success on and off the field as well.
Bailey, who committed to Division I Gardner–Webb as a sophomore, already has 10 goals and three assists this season after netting seven scores last year as a midfielder.
The Panthers are excelling on the field, just like they have in the classroom. For the 10th straight year, Massaponax was awarded the NSCAA National Academic Award for achieving a 3.7 team grade-point average or higher. They are one of only 30 girls soccer teams in the country to accomplish that feat.
“That’s something we take very seriously, and it’s something we’re very proud of,” Fetner said.