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Vikings bring experienced roster into 2019 season

LEADER: Daphnee Landrum will be among Huntington North’s leaders for the 2019 season.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

Experience. Unlike the Huntington North boys soccer team, the girls soccer team will enter the 2019 season with high hopes riding on a roster laden with experience.

The 2018 Lady Vikes also boasted a lineup heavily comprised of upperclassmen, but had just four seniors on the roster as opposed to nine juniors. Those juniors, now seniors, will play a key role in whatever success the team will have this fall.

“We are excited for the upcoming season!” said head coach Jeremy Steele. “We have a large group of returning seniors that are working very hard and have a desire to leave their mark on the girls soccer program. As always, we have holes to fill with the departure of players from last year. Most notably, our defensive will have a new look, as we lost both outside backs to graduation last season.”

Though Huntington North did lose a few key seniors last year, the returning group should more than make up for the losses, as the Lady Vikes have what on paper appears to be a group ready to put together a memorable campaign.

With the 2018 team having put together a respectable season, the returners will be expected to take the program to the next level this fall.

“Outside of our outside backs, the majority of our starting lineup returns from a team that won over 12 games last season,” Steele said. “They understand and realize the high expectations of being a soccer player for Huntington North.”

While Steele has high hopes for his team as a whole this fall, he specifically expects his senior class to put the team on their backs.

Steele noted five specific seniors and one underclassmen as being players to watch for the Lady Vikes in the 2019 campaign for the program to have success.

“We do expect big things from a couple of (seniors) as they lead us forward into the year,” Steele said. “In particular, Autumn Anderson and Daphnee Landrum will need to create and score goals for us. Through the midfield, players such as Bella Bercik and Dairian Goelz will help us create and maintain possession. Kodi Douglass will return in goal for her senior year and provides stability and experience as a goalie. Most notably for underclassmen, Addy Wiley has taken a big step forward in her development as a soccer player and will be a very important piece in our attack as a couple of players return from injury early in the year.”

For what has been a competitive program over the last few seasons, Steele also expects his group to contend for a Northeast 8 Conference (NE8) championship.

Though the team did show well within their conference last year, a few key injuries throughout the season hindered the Vikings’ chances to break out for the success they wanted. Despite falling short of their goal in 2018, Steele is optimistic he has the group needed this fall to get the job done.

“As always, we expect to have a strong showing in the NE8 Conference,” Steele said. “We have proven to be a strong team within the conference over the last several seasons. We expect again to compete for a conference championship. Last season, we finished second in the conference and were left unsatisfied with that standing.”

In addition to the leadership and production Steele expects from his senior class, he also recognizes health will be a big component of whatever success his team will have this season.

Steele said he is still tinkering with his starting lineup, as some injuries are affecting what may become the go-to group.

Huntington North will open their 2019 season on Aug. 20, heading on the road to duel with Snider for a 5:30 p.m. start. The Vikings’ home opener is slated for Aug. 22 when they host Canterbury at 5 p.m.