Lofty goals

Published 7:53 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

team that will look to challenge for a Coastal Conference crown this season. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Washington’s Emily Bohn (14) is one of 10 returning starters on a Pam Pack team that will look to challenge for a Coastal Conference crown this season. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

The 2012 soccer season was a historic one for Washington. This year could be even better.
The Pam Pack enters the 2013 season with a roster loaded with experienced and talented players as Washington returns 10 starters from last year’s club that finished 12-10 and won back-to-back playoffs games for the first time in school history.
It’s a team that third-year coach Ed Rodriguez feels can challenge the upper echelon of the Coastal Conference.
“We’re hoping to finish in the top-two of the conference. That’s our goal,” Rodriguez said. “I think if we get everything worked out we have a chance to do it. Our players are very committed and practice hard. I think we can have a better season than last year.
“ … They don’t have to learn the system again and they are used to each other and know what each other can do, which makes communication better and our overall teamwork better.”
Last year Washington gunned its way past its opponents led by its prolific goal-scoring trio of Alana Jefferson, Christian Heggie and Emily Bohn, who all back this season.
“Our top three scorers last year were Alana, Christian and Emily,” Rodriguez said. “Emily is our center midfielder and she controls the offense and does a great job of passing the ball and helping on defense as well.
“Christian plays mainly up top and she has great skills with the ball. She’s deceptively quick and can kick with both feet. She does a great job.
“Alana plays mostly on the left and she has good speed and is very determined. She gets a lot of great shots on goal.”
Joining that trio of playmakers will be Harley Hudson, who sustained an injury in the first half of the season opener and is expected to return to action soon.
“She’s a big part of the offense,” Rodriguez said. “She’s a good set up person.”
With a year of varsity experience under her belt, sophomore goalkeeper Emily Alligood can be a weapon for the Pam Pack defense, as is senior defender Erica Alligood, who has returned from a knee injury sustained last year.
“Our goalie has grown immensely from last year,” Rodriguez said. “She did a good job last year, but she is looking even better this year. She’s doing a great job at her position.”
Overall, the defense is a year older and wiser and just how much it improved from last season will go a long way in determining Washington’s success.
“Defensively, our goal is to cut down on the amount of goals that we give up from last year. That was one of the drawbacks on our team,” Rodriguez said. “We got record scoring (on offense) last year but our defense was not as good as I would want it to be.
“We’ve proved we can score against anybody because we scored against every team in our league; even the team that won the state championship in White Oak. So our defense is what we want to concentrate on this year.”