Elkins, B-U squads return talent in 2018

The Inter-Mountain file photo Elkins and Buckhannon-Upshur battle during a 2017 match. The Lady Tigers open the regular season today at home against Petersburg, while the Lady Bucs entertain Brooke on Saturday.

ELKINS — The Elkins High School girls soccer team looks to take the next step in 2018 after falling just short of reaching the state tournament last season.

Scott Cutright’s Lady Tiger squad went 14-6-1 in 2017, bowing to Lewis County in PKs in the Class AA-A, Region II, Section 2 title game.

The match was scoreless through regulation and two overtimes before the Minutemaids prevailed in the shoot-out round.

Elkins lost just two seniors from that squad, including Class AA-A all-state first-team midfielder Rachel Phillips, who signed with Fairmont State to continue her career on the pitch.

Plenty of experience and talent is back, however, led by defender Kiley Calain, who was named second team on both the all-state and Big 10 Conference squads as a junior.

Fellow seniors Nonee High and Alli Hopwood, along with junior Sofia Triplett, also are expected back after the trio earned all-Big 10 Conference honors last fall.

High, a forward, made the all-state honorable-mention list as well.

The Lady Tigers will kick off the season at 5:30 p.m. today at home against Petersburg.

Buckhannon-Upshur

TENNERTON – Expectations will be high for the Buckhannon-Upshur girls soccer team this season as nearly every starter is back from last year’s squad.

However, the Lady Bucs of sixth-year head coach Jackie Zuliani must replace a pair of four-year starters in Lauren Bennett and McKinley Gaudet, along with keeper Ashton Maxwell.

Leading the list of returning players will be holdover seniors Madi Ware, Audrey Gaudet, Leigh Ann Bennett, Peyton Carlyle and Lauren Gompers.

Ware, a forward, is one of the team’s top returning goal scorers, while Gaudet earned Class AAA all-state honorable-mention laurels as a defender last fall. She was also an all-Big 10 Conference second-team selection.

Ware and Carlyle also earned Big 10 accolades on the honorable-mention list.

The sophomore and freshmen classes make up more than half of the 29-girl roster as 17 players hail from those two classes.

Several sophomores were in the starting lineup in 2017 as freshmen, while juniors Brooklyn Maxwell, Amber Powers and Ellie Greenough all logged quality varsity playing time.

The highly-successful Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School program produced most of the incoming freshmen class, including Claire Coffman, who is battling junior Rachel Long and sophomore Brooklyn Bryant for the starting goalkeeper job.

The Lady Bucs, who went 10-8-3 in 2017, open the season at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ted Crites Alumni Field at Tom Hasbrouck Stadium against Brooke.

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