IAC GIRLS SOCCER: WAVERLY'S HOGAN HAS HIGH HOPES FOR LADY WOLVERINES IN 2021 (2021-09-08)

By TIM BIRNEY
Valley Sports Report
WAVERLY — Waverly girls soccer coach Tara Hogan has seen an influx of youth, to go along with a talented veteran base, and she has high hopes for the Lady Wolverines in 2021.

“I hope to win the division, and get back to the (overall) Large School Championship game,” she said.

“I’d also like to get as far as we can in Sectionals, maybe get to the Sectional finals, and win it for once,”  Hogan added.

Hogan will lean on a freshman goal keeper in Lea Cole in 2021.

“She has a lot of natural instincts and confidence,” said Hogan. “I’ve been super-impressed with her.”

Freshman Bella Gonzalez will be the back-up keeper, and could also see time on defense.

Senior Bella Romano will start at center-defender, but Hogan notes junior Kennedy Westbrook could also return to the position she manned in the spring.

Sophomore Olivia Robinson will play one of the outside back spots.

“As far as reading the game, (Olivia) is one of the best on our team,” said Hogan. “She has an uncanny knack for predicting where the offensive player is going.”

Sophomore Paige Robinson will start at the other outside back spot, but could move up to stopper / sweeper or midfield.

Freshman Hailey Davenport will also vie for time on defense.

Kennedy Westbrook will start at the stopper / sweeper position, but “ideally, we would move her up,” said Hogan.

“She is everything you need in a player,” noted Hogan. “She has the voice, the confidence, the speed … she has everything. She’s just a natural talent.”

Sophomore Leah VanAllen is the center-mid, with junior Alyvia Daddona playing outside mid, and sophomores Abby Blauvelt, Kiley Stillman, and Faith Blauvelt vying for time at the other outside-mid spot.

Freshman Addison Westbrook will play one of the forward spots, and senior Allison Campbell returns to the team after a season away and will start at the other forward spot.

“(Addison) has good speed, and is always in the right place at the right time,” said Hogan.

Sophomore Lilly Sickler and 8th-grader Haley Larrabee could see time in the midfield or at forward, while 8th-grader Claire Clonch could see time on defense or in the midfield.

Amy Fehrenbach would have seen time in the midfield or at forward, but is out with a foot injury.

“We have more depth than we’ve had, but our versatility may be our biggest strength,” said Hogan. “We have several girls who can play multiple positions, and play them well.”

Hogan said she has two concerns heading into 2021.

“Our conditioning is my biggest concern,” she said. “We’re not where we should be as a team.

“I also need more of my veteran players to step up and be vocal, to encourage our younger girls.

“We have so many freshmen, and because so many of them are brand new, they need that encouragement,” noted Hogan. “They need to know they are part of the team.

“I need more leadership from my veterans,” added Hogan.

AROUND THE IAC SOUTH LARGE SCHOOL DIVISION

“Notre Dame is always the team we need to beat in the division,” said Hogan. “I think it comes down to the two of us in the division again.

“Newark Valley lost a lot to graduation. I’m note really sure what they have back.

“And, SVEC didn’t have a team in the spring, so they are a major question mark, too,” added Hogan. They also have a new coach.”

——————

IN PHOTO: Kennedy Westbrook during preseason scrimmage against Horseheads. … PHOTO BY TIM BIRNEY.