2021 Women Soccer Season Preview
With soccer season right around the corner, Katelyn Geddings and her staff are excited for this season to kick off. After a successful 9-2-2 season last year, the Panthers are ready to step back on the field and compete for a conference championship.
After graduating 10 seniors from a season ago, BSC is excited to see what the 2021 roster can produce in a full season.
Although the team graduated 10 seniors from last season, the Panthers still have a solid group returning. BSC will return four seniors, and 12 juniors, who will play a pivotal role in the Panthers success this season.
“We have 12 returning from the junior class and a lot of them have some really good experience,” said Head Coach Katelyn Geddings. “I am super excited for that class to finally be able to step in and get some big minutes this year. They have some big personalities, and should definitely step up in some leadership roles. We have three returning in our sophomore class and they have a little bit less experience, but I am definitely excited for that class to step in and earn some minutes as well.”
The coaching staff is very thrilled to see what the new class coming in can do for the program. Highlighted by three goalkeepers, this freshman class has a few players that have been selected for all-state, all-region, and all-metro teams.
“We have three goalkeepers coming in, and I’m super excited to see what those three bring to the table for us,” said Coach Geddings. “Graduating two senior goalkeepers and having that spot wide open. I am excited to see how hard they push each other in preseason and non-conference leading into conference play to see who will take that lead role. We lost some big positions in the forward and midfield areas as well in goalkeeping. We filled those areas with this class and were excited for the nine of them to come in and help our returners and push them a little more.”
With some changes at the forward position, Coach Geddings is positive that they will be ready when kick-off arrives.
“The past couple of seasons, we have played different formations and we are still unsure what formation we are going to play this year,” she explained. “We do not want anybody to come in and be that hero. We’re looking for everyone to come in and do it together. We want everyone to score goals in that forward position. We lost some speed up top, but we are ready to gain it in other ways: being able to put the ball in the back of the net, making the correct runs, and not depending on one person. We are leaning on all of our forwards to put in more goals this season.”
The midfield position will see some new faces this season, but Coach Geddings believes two returning starters, Amber Thompson and Hannah Daoust will step up in that position.
“We lost a couple of big midfielders for us that got a lot of minutes,” said Coach Geddings. “We definitely have Amber Thompson who is returning as one of our midfielder’s and Hannah Daoust returning as another starter for us in the midfield. We are super excited for those returners to help other people who are going to step up into those roles.”
Birmingham-Southern lost one of their best defenders, Bailey Gardner, but the Panthers backline will still be a solid group this season.
“We lost one of our best defenders last year, but I’m excited to see who steps up really big for us in the center back role and help guide the team,” said Coach Geddings. “We return our outside backs, Sara Morales and Brenna Avery who have played a lot of minutes for us and really take our team to the next level.”
With the center-back position, open Coach Geddings has a few options to lean on when it comes to filling that spot.“We are excited to see Kirby Hopkins come back in and hopefully do a lot for us in that center-back position. We are really hoping that someone comes in and steps up in that position.”
The goalkeeper position will see three new faces this upcoming season. While it is going to be competition for the number one spot, Coach Geddings wants the three newcomers to be a family and enjoy the comradery.
“Everybody wants to play, and the biggest thing that we’ve stressed to the three goalkeepers coming in is that we want it to be a family,” explained Coach Geddings. “ They all have things that they’re better at than the other and we think that all three of them can push each other and make each other better. As a coaching staff, we decide who starts based on who is the best person for that position, in that game, at that time, and who matches up better with the team. We have really reinforced with them making sure they’re cheering each other on in practice making each other better.”
With the season approaching Coach Geddings, her staff, and team are ready for any opponent they step on the pitch with. The season starts fast with Huntington College, an in-state rival. The Panthers are ready and well prepared for this upcoming season.
“We start off in our season opener with Huntington, which is a very exciting game, our in-state rival,” said Coach Geddings. “It is probably one of my favorite games of the year because it is always a great battle for us. It is usually a tie or a win in our favor and you can definitely see that in-state rival. Our girls definitely go into that game ready to play and there’s as well. It is usually one of those games where you can tell how the rest of the season will go. We want to start off strong against Huntington, Belhaven, and Piedmont then we travel to Texas to play UT Dallas and Pacific University. I think after those first couple of games, we will definitely know how the conference is going to fall for us.”
While every coach’s goal is to bounce back from a shortened COVID season, Coach Geddings’ goals go a little deeper than some might expect.
“Our goals this season are getting beyond COVID but more importantly finding out who this team is,” emphasized Head Coach Katelyn Geddings. “Graduating 10 seniors who have big personalities is hard to replace, but bringing in another class of nine will allow some of these girls who have a little less experience to come out and show exactly what they can do and take over some roles. We have been working on what COVID took away from us, which is team bonding and getting that team chemistry back to where it was two seasons ago.”
Coming into a new season, Coach Geddings expressed her goal of wanting to be better than last year.
“We finished second last year in the conference and we want to continue finishing in the top four, but definitely winning the conference is our goal,” explained Coach Geddings. “We do not want to let our level of competition drop. We expect more people to step up in big roles and finish at the top, instead of being out in the semifinal game, we want to get to the final game.”
Coach Geddings has made it known that even though they have graduated 10 seniors, her team for this season has what it takes to build off last season. Geddings and her staff are ready to take on the task of making sure the team is better than last year and ready to compete with any opponent on the schedule. It is going to be a highly competitive atmosphere for players earning spots but at the end of the day, they will be one big family.