The 2020 high school soccer girls soccer season is going to be an interesting one, to say the least.
North Laurel enters as the two-time defending 13th Region champion while teams such as Corbin, Whitley County, and South Laurel are ready to unseat the Lady Jaguars.
But it’s not going to be easy.
Most of you know that I released my 49th District Girls preseason rankings last week, but this week, I had to tweak the rankings just a tad bit, which you will see why in the rankings below:
1. North Laurel (16-2-1 overall in 2019)
First off, an apology goes out to North Laurel senior Olivia Rudder. When I wrote the 49th District rankings last week, I misread last season’s roster, and thought Rudder was a senior. It was an honest mistake on my part.
With that said, Rudder makes North Laurel an even more dangerous team, thus my reason on why I’m putting the Lady Jaguars atop the preseason Fear ‘Les’ 13th Region Rankings.
Rudder scored 19 goals and finished with nine assists last season, and don’t forget, she was also 13th Region Player of the Year in 2018.
Also returning is Trispy Girls Soccer Player of the Year Maddie Dagley along with her team-best 26 goals. She also dished out 11 assists last season.
Maddi Mastin (10 goals, four assists) and Meg Anderson (four goals and three assists) each played big roles on last season’s team as well.
Ellisia Edwards logged 15 games as the keeper last year.
2. Corbin (10-12)
The Lady Redhounds might be No. 2, but they’re not far behind North Laurel.
Corbin is a talented team that returns Grace Gibson along with her 19 goals and 11 assists. Olivia Jones (13 goals and five assists, Anna Dotson (nine goals and 12 assists), Clara Finneseth (seven goals, five assists), and Kaiden Walden (five goals and one assist) also returns for coach Hannah Gaines’ squad.
Corbin looks to be strong defensively again as Patton Chandler and Kamryn Gibbs each turned in solid seasons at the keeper position last season.
3. Whitley County (12-4)
I said this last week, and I’ll say it again: the Lady Colonels are the team to keep an eye on. Even though I have them ranked third, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them win the district and the region title this season.
Whitley County turned in one of its best seasons in program history after getting off to an impressive 6-0 start.
Returning will be Reis Anderson, who scored a 13th Region-best 49 goals while finishing with 23 assists. Whitney Owens (17 goals, 14 assists), Chelsey Logan (13 goals, nine assists), and Kaylee Aslinger (11 goals, 10 assists) are also major scoring threats, making coach Kelly Sawyers’ squad one of the best offensive teams in the region. Madison Patterson returns at the keeper position after playing in 16 games while recording 191 saves.
4. South Laurel (8-12-1)
First-year coach Jeremy Howard takes over a Lady Cardinal team that won eight games last season while graduating leading goal scorer Katie Vance, who led the team with 13 goals.
South Laurel is going to be better than most think. First off, Howard is competitive, and will have his team ready for the long haul.
The key will be on the offensive side of things.
South Laurel struggled to find offense last season and will look to improve on its 44 goals from 2019.
Belle Dotson (eight goals, four assists), Makayla Fields (five goals, two assists), Ashlyn Davis (four goals, eight assists), Brooklyn Taylor (four goals, two assists), and one of the region’s top defensive players, Lindsay Cox, who scored two goals last season, return for South Laurel.
Gracie Turner played 18 games at the keeper position last season, and allowed only 1.6 goals per game. Madison Vandeventer and Karli Mitchell also logged minutes at the keeper position in 2019.
5. Harlan County (7-6)
The Lady Black Bears are an up and coming team, reaching the 13th Region Tournament last season before falling to North Laurel.
Natalie Bolin (five goals) and Hailey Gaw (four goals) return as Harlan County top goal scorers.