Winning district title goal for Norton girls soccer team
NORTON — Second-year head coach Christopher Chapman said he is looking for the Norton girls soccer team to build on its success of a year ago.
Last season, Norton finished with a 10-6-2 overall record and in second place in the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division. The squad ended as sectional champions and the district runners-up.
“Winning districts is our goal this year,” Chapman said. “I gave the girls a tough schedule this season to prepare us for the playoffs, adding Copley, STVM [St. Vincent-St. Mary] and Hoban, and keeping CVCA [Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy] and Barberton on our nonconference schedule.”
According to the coach, the strength of this year’s team is its defense, but he added that the team will need to improve on offense to meet its goals.
“Scoring is our weakness,” he said. “We are returning a lot of experience on defense, but 75 percent of our goal scorers graduated. We have a younger team this year, but many of them are returning letter-winners.”
Chapman said his team features a trio of seniors this season. Those players, with comments on each by the coach, are:
• Savannah Conklin: “A returning three-year letter-winner, she is a phenomenal player and student. She carries almost a 4.0 GPA [grade point average] and is very smart on the field as well. Savannah is a very technical player with great awareness.”
• Beth Haramis: “A returning three-year letter-winner, she is probably going to be our leading goal scorer. Beth controls the game with the ball at her feet. She is a great free kick and corner taker.”
• Ashley Neeley: “She is coming back to soccer after taking last season off. Ashley has great speed and intensity.”
The coach cited Emily and Katie Nagy as a pair of up-and-coming sophomores who play key roles for the program.
“Emily and Katie Nagy are twin sisters that made great contributions last year as freshmen,” he stated. “They see the field better than anyone else on the team. They have great vision and passing ability, and both have been known to find the back of the net on occasion. Katie scored the game-tying goals in both the district semis and finals last year.”
Another young player who Chapman said is a contributor for the team is freshman Ashley Limer.
“She has killer speed and toughness,” the coach said. “People may overlook her because of her small size, but I expect her to have a big role in our offense.”
Through Sept. 15, the team’s overall record was 3-3-3, including a 1-0-2 mark in league play.
“The defense has been playing phenomenal; we just have not been able to find the back of the net as often as I would like,” Chapman said. “But the girls are playing really well and it’s starting to come together with the younger group — they’re kind of falling in behind the seniors now. They’re starting to become familiar with playing each other where they hadn’t had a lot experience together before.”
Prior to taking over the Norton girls soccer program, Chapman coached with the Crew Juniors in Columbus. His assistant coach is Kyle Lewis.
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