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February 20, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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February 20, 2019 Page 5B i orter MARY PERSONS 2019 VARSITY GIRLS SOCCER TEAM: Pictured from left to right on the front row: Sidney Briner, Taylor Buffington, Annie Giles, Ab- bie Davis, Banks McCoy, Sydney Lewis, Hope Brooks and Mara Emami. Pictured from left to right on the back row: head coach Dallas Hall, Karsen Win- get, Alexis Havens, Rachel Adams, Morgan Lawson, Maggie Sanders, Abby Williamson, Ansley Lawson, Rachel Martin and Sarah Bayer. (Photo/Will Davis) By Richard Dumas brs h@mymcr.net After back-to-back Sweet 16 ap- pearances, the Mary Persons girls soccer team will look to establish itself as one of the top squads in AAAA in 2019. Third-year MP head coach Dallas Hall said after going 22-14-2 over his first two seasons, his 2019 squad, which features nine returners, is his deepest, most talented group yet. Unfortunately for Hall, that depth was tested before the season even began as star forward Taylor Buffmgton tore the ACL in her knee late in basketball season. The junior Butfington, who led MP in goals with 34 as a sopho- more en route to being named a All- Region 2-AAAA 1st Team selection, is expected to miss the entire 2019 * season. Hall said of Buffington: "She provides lots of goals, lots of assists, movement, technical ability, she's very hard to mark And usually every team we play spots her right away as a person they need to shut down, but she's very hard to shut down." Perhaps the player who could feel Buffmgtons absence the most is the team's second-leading returning scorer, junior center forward Abbie Davis, who will now be counted on ! to Bttffing/or/ large scoring sloes. However, Hall said Davis, who scored 26 goals as a sophomore, should be able to up that number in 2019 because she has added more variety to her game. Hall said of Davis: "She has also progressed greatly since my first year here. She used to just rely on her speed and getting in behind. But this year she can do a little bit of every- thing. She can go in behind, she can check the feet, she can play out, she can turn, she can slip people through. She's very hard to mark now because she can do all those things. I think she's going to have a little breakout year and be hard to mark " Joining Davis along MP's front line will be returning junior Alexis Havens and one of four talented freshmen, Abby Williamson. Behind that trio will be a mostly experienced group of midfielders, including two of the squad's most reliable players, senior co-captains Annie Giles and Morgan Lawson. Hall compared Giles, a 1st Team All-Region 2-AAAA selection in 2018, to a car engine in the sense that she's the essential piece that allows MP to transition smoothly between defense and offense. "She kind of runs the pace of the team, so everything runs through her:' Hall said of Giles. "Players are comfortable playing to her. She wants the ball. And it's very difficult when we don't have her in She just runs the show. A lot of goals come from her. She had 20 assists last year:' As for Lawson, she plays a box-to- box role that requires her to move rapidly throughout the midfield. Hall said of Lawson: "She moved to center mid and she's been doing great. She's really taken to that role. So everything kind of runs through her and Annie. Her work rate is ridicu- lous'.' Starting alongside those two center mids will be a talented freshman, Karsen Winget. Along the back line of defense, MP will return a pair of seniors, center back Sidney Briner and left back Rachel Adams. Briner, an Honorable Mention All-Region 2-AAAA choice as a junior and a 2019 co-captain, was recognized by Hall as last year's Coaches' MVP because of how hard she plays and her upward progres- sion throughout her career. Two new starters, freshman center back Sydney Lewis and sophomore right back Mara Emami, will join those two re- turners. Hall said Emami surged late last );ear, cracking the starting lineup in the playoffs, and solidified her spot in the lin up during the off-season. With a two-year starter at goalie (Lori Smith) having graduated, MP will turn to sophomore Maggie Sand- ers, who started on IV last year, as its netminder. GIRLS SOCCER . Page 7B 2019 MP JV edule DATE Feb. 21 Feb. 25 Feb. 27 Mar. 2 Mar. 4 Mar. 6 Mar. 11 Mar. 18 Mar. 21 Mar. 25 Mar. 27 Mar. 30 OPPONENT Mount de Sales Pike County Griffin Mount de Sales Spalding ACE Pike County Griffin Upson-Lee LOCATION Home Away Home Away Home Home Home Away Away 1st Round Area Tourney TBD Semifinals Area Tourney TBD Finals Area Tourney TBD TIME B-6 p.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. B- 11 a.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. G-5:30 p.m B-7 p.m. TBD TBD TBD