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Girls' soccer takes on a new look

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By Jesse Osbourne

Marion County High School's girls' soccer team will look a little different this year but the core remains unchanged.

For starters, former Head Coach Neil Payne has moved on to a job in Montgomery County. Last year's assistant coach Hart Hagan has been given the keys to the program. He added MCHS alum Ashley Ballard to the coaching staff.

Secondly, the Lady Knights will be without last season's darling, Makayla Epps.

"She did officially let me know that with her basketball schedule that soccer is too demanding," Hagan said. "It was difficult for her to back out but she enjoyed it last year. It's obviously her priority. With my full support she will continue focusing on that."

Epps was a scoring threat for the Lady Knights last season after deciding at the last minute to join the team. She saw a lot of action on the pitch in her debut varsity campaign.

"There are a lot of things that could happen that could jeopardize her basketball career," Hagan said. "Also, she doesn't want to run herself down going into the basketball season. I hate to see her go but I completely understand."

Hagan is looking to improve on last season's 5-10 record.

"With the talent we have and with some of the experience they developed last year, I feel like we should have a very strong season," Hagan said. "The expectation is to have a winning season. As a team we talked about making our way out of district. That's something that hasn't happened in five or six years."

Hagan expects leadership out of Christine Mattingly, Annaliece Mattingly, Ann Thomas Daugherty and Sara Obata.

"With Claire Hagan in her first varsity year at keeper, her performance will be key to our success," Hagan said.

The coach said the team could struggle early on but he expects a quick learning curve.

"We've got key positions that are still very young girls both class wise and experience wise," Hagan said. "I expect to have a strong season overall but I anticipate some bumps in the road. We want to be one of the top teams in the district by the end of the season. I anticipate some learning curves but the girls will catch on quick. The challenge is to grow quickly."

The Lady Knights open their season on August 16 against Southwestern at 6 p.m. at Elmer J. George Field.

MCHS girls' soccer schedule

Date Opponent Location Time

Aug. 16 Southwestern Home 6 p.m.

Aug. 19 Somerset Home 6 p.m.

Aug. 21 TBA Away TBA

Aug. 23 North Hardin Away 7 p.m.

Sept. 2 Western Hills Away 6 p.m.

Sept. 4 Labor Day Tourney Home TBA

Sept. 8 North Bullitt Away 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 9 Taylor County Home 5:30 p.m.

Sept. 11 Paris Away TBA

Sept. 14 Danville Home 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 Wayne County Home 3 p.m.

Sept. 20 Mercer County Home 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 Garrard County Away 6 p.m.

Sept. 28 Boyle County Away 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 Pulaski County Away 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 Spencer County Home 6 p.m.

Oct. 7 Bardstown Away 7 p.m.