PLYMOUTH – Nothing makes a football coach happier than the words ‘clean sheet’. It’s a phrase used when their team doesn’t allow a goal in a game and it has been said a lot by Plymouth South Girls Soccer head coach Kyle Leavitt this preseason.
The Panthers have taken shutout wins over Archbishop Williams, Apponequet and Sandwich in scrimmages over the past two weeks as they lined up everything for Tuesday’s season opener against St. John Paul II .
“I think we’re going to be a very competitive team this season. The amount of talent in the Patriot League is incredible, so we’ll have to be ready to play from the start of the league season (September 10 at Duxbury High), ”said Leavitt. “We’re bringing back a lot of our starters from last season, which is always good, and we’re always trying to find the right fit. We are playing very well defensively and offensively, we are looking to finish our scoring chances a little better.
South’s defensive leader is a household name with senior Emily Pike. A three-year net participant, Pike brings a veteran presence to her team’s back line. Second-year goaltender Bella DiBiasio also spent time in the net during the scrimmages.
“I think we’ve solidified things at the back. Emily is a great point guard and confident in the net. She did a lot of things in the offseason to improve as a goaltender, Leavitt said. “We are delighted to find her. “
Keeping things neat and tidy in front of Pike comes down to the starting line-up of defenders which includes seniors Lauren Donlan, Ella Rose and Madison Miller as well as junior Anna Quinn. Pike and Rose are the team captains with senior center midfielder Paige Kunkle.
On the front line, big things are expected this season from sophomore Kendra Foley. A club football player, Foley led the team in goals scored in the freshman.
“Kendra is a talented football player. She is aware that she is the girl the other teams will try to stop when they face us. She’s got a great shot and she’s a great playmaker as well, ”said Leavitt. “We will be relying on her a lot to help us get started. Several other returning college players and subclasses will also be invited to share some of the scoring load.
This season will be different from what we saw last year when COVID-related rule changes dominated the game. Masks are removed, the ball head is allowed again, and throw-ins are part of the game.
This is only the beginning of the return to normal. Teams are back to playing a full roster of league and non-league competitions and the postseason tournament returns this season instead of the Patriot Cup, but with one big difference. All high schools are still lined up by division (Plymouth South is in division 2), but the section tournament has been eliminated. All of the teams that qualify for the playoffs in each division are ranked before the tournament begins, and you can play against a team from either the next town or across the state.
With all teams on both sides of the Patriot League, the Panthers will also play against SJP II and Old Rochester twice once in non-league games during the regular season. South has 45 girls in the program this year with a large number in the freshman team.
Email the reporter at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter, @ DavidWolcott1.