The Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Lady Blue Jays varsity soccer team surprised head coach Marty Adams with their first performance of the season.
Playing in a scrimmage against Fleming County on Aug. 12, the Lady Blue Jays won, 4-1. Sophomore Madisyn Blackburn scored twice and junior Bailey Adams and sophomore Kursten Prater scored one goal each.
“We actually played pretty well,” Marty Adams said. “I was wondering how they would come out but they played very well. They moved the ball well.”
Perhaps more impressive than the final scoreline was the fact that it was one of the first chances for Adams to get his full team together on a field since practice began on Aug. 1. Due to work or other family commitments, Adams hasn’t always had the full allotment of players together for practice.
But from what he saw, he believes that his current squad, 17 players strong, has versatility that will help them throughout the regular season.
“I’ve seen some good things out of that, that would make me more comfortable during the regular season,” Adams said, regarding his squad’s flexibility to play multiple positions and formations.
Adams said he plans to use a 3-5-2 formation, that at times shifts to a 3-4-3 formation with two wide forwards, but he hinted that he could put a stopper behind his three-woman defensive unit to act as a stopper and the second-to-last line of defense in front of goal.
Of the 17 players on the team, 12 are upperclassmen, and Adams said he expects big things from his seniors.
Center back Kristen Abbott is heading into her second season at that position after converting from forward. Kilee Brookbank has recovered fully from her injuries following an explosion in her home and is set to start at right midfield. Alexis Conley, the team’s left forward, is primed to lead the team in goals this season. And Suzanne Dragoo is returning to her place between the pipes.
Add to that quartet Adams daughter Bailey, another of the team’s many forwards, and Marty Adams believes the Lady Jays are primed for success this season.
“The upperclassmen are girls I’ve coached off and on since they were in fifth or sixth grade so it helps to be in my system and be in that system for long,” Adams said.
The Lady Jays return to action this Saturday during the SHAC preview at Lynchburg-Clay High School. They’ll face Eastern High School at 4:30 p.m.