MADISON — As the 2020 soccer season fast approaches, Scott High School’s Lady Skyhawks have returned to the field with a new coach for this year. Woody Hunter has stepped up to take on the position of head coach, succeeding previous head coach Del Kimbler. He now leads a team made up of seventeen players, including six seniors and one freshman. This is his third year working with the Lady Hawks.
“This year here, I’ve got the most experience I’ve had [in a team],” Coach Hunter said.
Team captain Lilly Bias, one of the six seniors, is a four-year starter and has exhibited skill that has proved valuable to the team. Hunter expects her to work alongside her younger teammates to help strengthen and develop their skills as well. Fellow seniors Sara Kirk and Megan Epling are also needed for their leadership and skill to benefit the team. These girls play in the midfield and the wings, strengthening the Lady Hawks’ offense.
Returning seniors Tori Wilburn and Adrianna Ballard, as well as juniors Chloe Hunter and Jayden Elkins, use their strength and defensive ability to play in defensive positions. Ashley Dingess and Baylee Dunlap, both juniors, are able to slot into different roles on the field using their teamwork, talent on ball, and speed to their advantage. Junior Alanna Tomblin is a facilitator at midfield who can help control the action during matches. Sophomore Calista Sayre looks to be a help to the varsity team.
The team as a whole has the know-how to potentially make an impact, so Hunter said he looks forward to seeing how they handle the challenge of playing in the competitive Cardinal Conference.
“[We’re in] one of the better divisions in our state,” Hunter said.
Focusing on defense against skilled strikers will be a test for the Lady Hawks.
“We need to work on our new [defensive] schemes, because switching to work in a more five-man midfield and a four-man backline…” Jayden Elkins plays her second year as goalkeeper, and Hunter expresses how fortunate it is to have her strong keeping between the posts. With room to tweak their style for different opponents, Scott has players to fill every spot in the XI and to help them to record wins.
In addressing the pandemic, Hunter said it is a “different beast” and that he has made extra precautions to keep his players safe.
“This is almost like starting a new sport, because of things we have to do with the SSAC, then with our county, then with our school, and all the rules and regulations we have to adopt and get these young ladies to understand what we need to do.”
The adjustment has been difficult due to shortened schedules, back-to-back games and fewer practices. In spite of this, Hunter sees potential in this Lady Hawks squad.
“I believe that this season with the team that I have is really going to be something to watch,” he said. “The girls really work great together. They’re uniformed, [and] they’re playing disciplined ball.”
Scott girls’ soccer is slated to open its season at home vs. Lincoln County High School at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3.