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Manchester girls soccer team ends season as sectional champs

10/31/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

NEW FRANKLIN — Manchester High School girls soccer head coach Ed Kissner called the 2013 season a “very successful” one for his team.

“We started very strong, had a little bump in the middle and picked it back up in the end,” he said. “But we took the program to a level it’s never been to before, as far as the tournament, and I would say that’s a success.”

Manchester’s season ended Oct. 24 with a 1-0 loss to Smithville High School in the Division III Brunswick District championship game, but just making it that far helped the team to achieve one of its primary goals this season, Kissner noted.

“One of the girls’ goals was to get a banner in the gym with a number on it, saying we were some type of champions, and we did get that with a sectional championship,” he said. “We did fall short of our goal of winning the district championship, but still I would consider it a very successful season.”

Kissner described this year’s squad as a “skillful and resilient” team.

“They really showed a lot of heart,” the first-year coach said. “And our seniors were excellent leaders.”

The team was led this season, Kissner said, by seniors Kaylee Ferguson and Karlee Dougherty.

“Kaylee was our leader on the field as far as play, and Karlee had a really, really good season,” he stated. “Kaylee was our best player on the field this year. She was our best finisher, and she led the team with 20 goals and 14 assists. We looked to her to score the big goals for us, which she did many times. Karlee controlled the midfield in just about every game we played. She was the heart and soul of our team. If I had 22 Karlees on the team, I would never lose.”

The other seniors to finish the season for Manchester were Monica Tannhof, Rachel White and Connie Kline.

“Monica played really well in goal. She had three shutouts at the end of the season,” the coach said. “Rachel and Connie didn’t get a ton of playing time this year, but they led by example. When they did play, they were outstanding. We looked to them for a lot of leadership, and they provided it for us.”

Although the team will lose some key seniors next season, Kissner said he believes the 2014 squad will be “even stronger.”

“A lot of the freshmen who played this year will, of course, have one year under their belts,” he said, “and we have some decent players coming in next year.”

The freshmen who picked up playing time this season, Kissner noted, are Micheala Schaber, Grace Boss, Morgan Starcher, Kelly Mirman, Caydon Lloyd, Marie McNeill and Rachel Gasser.

“They exceeded my expectations this year,” he said. “They grew up very fast. I counted on them to do a lot of good stuff for us, and they definitely stepped up and played above their heads. I expect a lot out of them over the next three years.”

Also expected to return next year, Kissner said, are juniors Morgan Schaber, Sarah Steurer and Brittni Porter, and sophomore Aubrey Podner.

“Morgan was our leader on the defense. It was like having another coach on the field. Next year, we expect Morgan to be the team leader on the field,” the coach said. “Sarah was outstanding this year in a different position than last year. By the end of the season she was playing at a really high level as an outside backer. Brittni is a total team player. She stepped up and played goalkeeper in the tournament, even though her best position is as an outside back. She did a great job in goal for us. And Aubrey had some big goals during the season. She played at a very high level all year long, but she stepped it up in the tournament and played even better.”

The coach added he will look for Ashley Frasier to play a big role on next year’s team.

“She played so well in the tournament,” Kissner said. “We’re looking for her to be one of our key players next year.”

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