Aug. 12—Ending the season with a loss is never desirable, no matter the situation. But sometimes there are positives to be taken from such losses.
Take, for instance, the Woodrow Wilson girls soccer team, which fell 3-1 to George Washington in the Class AAA Region 3 title game last October. GW, of course, went on to win the state championship.
Consider, however, that GW had beaten Woodrow 10-0 in the regular season. That improvement gives coach Julie Agnor reason for enthusiasm.
"We played them very well," Agnor said. "It was a close game in my book, especially since we had lost 10-0 the first game; 3-1 was a big improvement.
"We did a lot of work that season."
The Flying Eagles broke even, finishing the year 9-9-5. They did lose four seniors — Allie Strader, Ali Berg, Erika Hilliard and Jenny Bair — but a load of experience and depth awaits for the 2022 season, which starts Aug. 19 with Ripley in the first of four straight home games.
The middle of the field is taken care of with three seniors who have started since they were sophomores, and an award-winning sophomore from last fall.
The seniors are Maddy Lanna, Sydney Vaught and Sophie Hall. Vaught and Hall were second-team all-staters and first-team all-region last year, while Lanna was second-team all-region.
Hall led the team with 13 goals and was co-leader with eight assists.
Sophomore Mya Wooton (12 goals, 8 assists) earned first-team all-state and all-region honors as a freshman.
Senior keeper Ally Arthur (114 saves) is another three-year starter and was first-team all-region and honorable mention all-state last season.
Returning at striker is junior Ama Ackon-Annan. Also at that position is transfer Nevaeh Simmons.
"Last year was (Ackon-Annan's) first year with us as a sophomore and she has just improved a whole lot," Agnor said.
Agnor is also confident in her back line, where Vaught will be joined by juniors Kyndall Dooley and Meredith Hall. There are also players fighting to take the other open spot.
"I lost a total of four players, and they were great players, but I've had a lot (of freshmen) come in, too, that can replace those players," said Agnor, who was the Class AAA Region 3 Coach of the Year. "And a lot of these girls played together in travel (ball), so it's going to be an easy slide for them."
As for ending the season more favorably, Agnor has high hopes that the team won't have to do any traveling the final two weeks. The girls and boys Region 3 finals will be played at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex, as will the state tournament a week later.
There's plenty of competition to get over to make that happen — including sectional opponents Greenbrier East, Oak Hill and Princeton — and of course the GW hurdle. But the experience coming back has Agnor hopeful.
"I'm very confident (in the players)," she said. "I've got four solid wings I can trade in and out. If they get tired, winded, I've got someone new to put in. And they're all very talented."
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