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11:16 PM Sat, Oct. 20th

Prep Soccer: Lady Vols look to senior leaders

KINGMAN – Not much has changed from a season ago for the Lee Williams High School girls soccer team. The Lady Volunteers graduated just two players and welcome back eight seniors, five of whom are returning starters.

However, there is one important difference – first-year head coach Chris Selby.

“I’m excited, we have a good group of girls,” he said. “I kind of wish I got here a couple of years earlier so I could work with them because most of them are seniors.”

Selby may only get to coach these seniors for one season, but the former Lake Havasu coach knows he couldn’t have stepped into a better situation.

“The seniors are for sure a strength,” Selby said. “There’s a lot of leadership, but I think they really gel well together. They’re playing more as a unit – more together as one than individual players playing for themselves. That is going to be an advantage.”

Now the biggest question is whether the Lady Vols can translate their experience into success after last season’s struggles at 3-8-1 overall and 0-6 in the 4A Grand Canyon Region.

“They gave up 80 goals last year and I’m a defensive-minded coach,” Selby said. “We’ve been concentrating on building a defense. I’m pretty happy with what I have. We’ll see how it goes.”

Selby hasn’t had a lot of time with this Lee Williams squad, but he did work with eight of the Lady Vols during the summer. That has helped build high hopes for this season.

“I feel like they’re going to have their best year since they’ve had a team,” Selby said.

It is far too early to tell how the squad does this season, but Selby is taking steps in the right direction. He named four captains because of the abundance of leadership and wants Lee Williams to possess the ball and play a “pretty game of soccer.”

“I’m just looking for improvement,” Selby said. “I’m looking for every player to grow and get better individually. And that they stay working together as a team. That’s my biggest thing.”

The most anticipated game of the non-region schedule will no doubt be the Dec. 4 contest against his former team Lake Havasu. He knows how talented the Lady Knights are, but also wants the Lady Vols to improve against areas teams such as River Valley and Mohave.

The region schedule won’t be any easier, especially since Flagstaff finished 6-0 last season and didn’t allow a goal.

“It’s a super tough region that we belong to,” Selby said. “I think three of the teams in our region went to playoffs last year. So we have our work cut out for us.”

Lee Williams opens its season at home Monday with a 6 p.m. contest against city rival Kingman High.