By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
WHITLEY COUNTY — The Whitley County Lady Colonels struggled to string wins together last season, but there was a marked improvement in head coach Kelly Sawyers’ team from the previous season.
The Lady Colonels gave up more than four goals per game in 2011, compared to 3.25 per game in 2012. Whitley County lost by 10 or more goals three times last season, two of those coming against eventual 13th Region Champion and state tournament final four participant, South Laurel.
Sawyers said while she would love to see the win total increase and eventually guide her team to a winning season, she’s happy to win the small battles as her team grows and improves.
“We have improved as a team over the past few years on our defense and we’re giving up fewer goals per game,” Sawyers said. “Sure, I would love to win a lot of games and see our kids have a winning season, but as long as we are making strides toward improvement every time we go out there and play, I’m going to be happy for now.
“We’re not losing as many games by 10-0 scores anymore and I think that’s a sign that our quality of soccer is improving,” she added. “If we continue to make progress in the right direction, I firmly believe we’ll get where we want to be eventually.”
Like a lot of other teams this season, Sawyers said she changed her team’s schedule up a bit in an effort to let the team see some better quality teams and how they play together.
“We let a few teams fall off the schedule because it really wasn’t benefitting our team to play them,” she said.
Much like last season, Sawyers will look primarily to underclassmen when it comes to the makeup of a team with just two seniors. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the Lady Colonels though as a group of seven juniors stand at the ready as they try to lead the team to a winning season.
“We have some young kids, but we have two seniors this year and seven juniors who will see good playing time,” Sawyers said. “This group wants to win and you can see it by the way they work hard when they’re at practice or just conditioning.
“Hopefully you’ll see a better team when the season starts,” she added.
The Lady Colonels will open the season with a pair of games on the road as they travel to Clinton County and Wayne County on Aug. 19 and 20. The Lady Colonels will host their home opener on Aug. 22 against Hazard.