By Ronald Frazier
It will be a new year for the Glenwood Lady Gator soccer team in 2019 as for the first time since AISA started girls only soccer, the Lady Gators will probably not be the favorites to win the state championship.
For the last six years that soccer has been played in girls’ competition, Glenwood has hoisted the state championship trophy, but this year head coach John Robertson knows there will be work to be done to make it seven.
“It is still early in the year and we have some key seniors so I expect our team to compete again in the state tournament. It will just be a much tougher road,” reported John Robertson.
In fact, Glenwood suffered its first regular season loss in three years, a 1-0 loss at the hands of Ezekiel and Robertson had high praise for his opponents.
“They are strong on defense and offense and are easily the best team we have seen in a long time. They are also extremely well coached,” Robertson said.
The Gators opened the season with a 3-1 win over Shaw of Columbus. In that game, Jordyn Wheeler had two goals and Karsyn Floyd had the other. Both of these juniors were starters last year.
Following the loss to Ezekiel on Feb. 28, the Lady Gators played Northside Methodist of Dothan on March 2 in the Fort Dale tournament and won, 4-0.
Wheeler and Sawtelle both had two goals each in the victory.
Along with those two juniors are seniors Sawtelle, Brianna Fanning and Sydney Norris. Sawtelle and Wheeler are the top goal scorers for the Lady Gators and will be expected to continue that as the season progresses.
New starters that will need to step up for the Lady Gators are Dakota Fanning, Brooke Sidlik and freshman Dakota Wood, who has moved into the starting lineup.
The Lady Gators also have two more juniors, Bailey Carmean and Jennifer Ortiz, but the rest of the roster is very young. That includes freshmen Natalee Mckay, Curtis Riley, Emily Ivey, and Carli Obert. The Lady Gators even have three seventh graders on the varsity, Caitlyn Obert, Kyndal Keyt and Katalyn Johnston.
“We are young and have new players that will be playing key roles for us,” Robertson said. “As they come along, is how we will do as the season progresses. Emily (Sawtelle) and Jordyn (Wheeler) are scorers and Karsyn (Floyd) has also gotten some big goals for us in the past. It is going to up to the young players and how they do.”
“Along with the scoring we have a great keeper in Taylor (Johnson) and she will keep is in games,” Robertson added.
The Lady Gators also got hit by the injury bug and the fourth senior, Ellie Woodham, is recovering from injury and has not played, and junior Katie Suarez is out for the season after her knee injury suffered during basketball season.