Carolina Forest freshmen leading youth movement

The freshman’s goals floored Will Hall.

Before the soccer season began, a small striker named Lexi Lilly told the Carolina Forest High girls coach she wanted to set the school record for most goals scored by a freshman. She then declared her intention to break the mark for most goals scored in a CFHS career.

“You don’t get a lot of kids at the age that they can’t even drive a car yet who are coming out there going, ‘This is a goal I’m setting for myself and I’m going to get after it,’” Hall said. “You’ve seen how tiny she is. She’s thrown all over the field. She gets stomped on all the time. And she dusts herself back off and gets back up there and goes at it again.”

As this season has proven, Lilly’s aspirations are not unreasonable. She needs just two goals to tie the school’s freshman scoring record (19) and the second half of region play hasn’t even started. In some ways, her outsized ambitions mirror those of this maturing Panthers squad, which entered the season starting six freshmen and is now tied for first place in the region.

The young team’s quick success has exceeded the expectations of their coach as well as some of the club’s veteran players, who had watched their team’s freshmen play on JV last year.

“I knew that we were going to have good talent coming up, but I am surprised that it’s happened so quickly, that we’ve gotten this much better just this year,” said defender Sara Padula, the team’s lone senior starter. “By the time they’re seniors, we’re going to be amazing.”

Three of Hall’s forwards are first-year varsity players, and at times the team starts as many as seven freshmen.

Along with Lilly, the roster’s Class of 2021 includes Reilly Ward, Ashtyn Perry, Allysa Niles, Kacey Miller, Emma Bucci, Emma Hamilton, Sidney Croland and Gabby Giracello.

“Once I saw the team together and our first few practices, I was really excited,” Lilly said. “We all instantly clicked. We were all of a sudden like one huge family. … People could see we were special.”

Before JV, some of the girls had played club soccer together. During the initial practices, the team’s chemistry was obvious. Players were calling out each other’s names and precisely timing runs. Their communication hit mid-season form before the region games started.

“This team has developed faster than other teams in the past that I’ve coached,” Hall said. “It’s hard for freshmen to come onto a team at a varsity level yelling at each other. Normally that’s something that’s developed over time.”

The Panthers opened the season by winning the Cavalier Kick Off in Columbia. They also had a strong showing at the Smoky Mountain Cup in Tennessee.

When the season began, Hall wasn’t sure how his defense would hold up against more mature forwards. Like everything else this season, that too was a surprise.

“I felt that our defense was going to be the weakest part of the team, and that has been far from it,” he said. “Our defense has been one of the strongest defenses in every match we’ve ever played in.”

The season hasn’t been perfect. There was a late-game meltdown against Myrtle Beach and a tough 2-1 loss at West Florence to open region play. Goalkeeper Cameron McWhorter is out with an Achilles injury and Hall doesn’t know when she will return.

But the Panthers (10-4, 4-1 region) have won four consecutive region games, including last week’s 4-1 triumph in a rematch against West Florence.

Carolina Forest has not played Socastee yet — the first match was rained out — but players are optimistic about their chances in the region.

“We’re a formidable competitor to all the other teams,” Padula said.

Hall worries about his team staying healthy, especially with McWhorter already hurt. But he knows that regardless of what happens in the second half of the season, the foundation is set for future years.

“The exciting part for me,” he said, “is they’re coming back.”

– Photo by Charles D. Perry/myhorrynews

Comments

comments

Chants drop third straight, down to last shot at bowl

Chants drop third straight, down to last shot at bowlCoastal Carolina suffered its third consecutive defeat Saturday to remain [more]

Chiefs charge past Tigers to reach Lower State semis

Chiefs charge past Tigers to reach Lower State semisMatt Reel spent a portion of the moments leading up [more]

Seahawks' hot start forces playoff rematch with NMB

Seahawks' hot start forces playoff rematch with NMBWhen Myrtle Beach traveled to Marlboro County one month ago, [more]

Panthers' playoff run hits wall against Summerville

Panthers' playoff run hits wall against SummervilleMarc Morris knew his team needed a near-perfect performance to [more]

Longtime MBHS volleyball coach Church steps down

Longtime MBHS volleyball coach Church steps downLarry Church's final match as Myrtle Beach High volleyball coach [more]

MB Invitational: Upsets set up UCF, WKU in title game

MB Invitational: Upsets set up UCF, WKU in title gameThe Knights used a stifling defense to hold St. Joseph’s [more]

MB Invitational: WVU rolls; Coastal nets invite for 2019

MB Invitational: WVU rolls; Coastal nets invite for 2019The eight schools scheduled to compete in the 2019 Myrtle [more]

Field conditions a concern for Wilson-NMB playoff tilt

Field conditions a concern for Wilson-NMB playoff tiltMatt Reel’s North Myrtle Beach football team reached the second [more]

Versatile Green means go for Seahawks' hot offense

Versatile Green means go for Seahawks' hot offenseDean Boyd knows what Jermani Green can do. Boyd, the Marlboro [more]

Local student-athletes take advantage of early signing

Local student-athletes take advantage of early signingThe early signing period opened in full force Tuesday on [more]

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debut

Green Wave surges past Chants in road-trip debutZac Cuthbertson tied his career-high with 31 points, but it [more]

NMB rises to the top with Class 4A volleyball crown

NMB rises to the top with Class 4A volleyball crownAfter losing a hard-fought first set in Saturday's Class 4A [more]

Coastal will host inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020

Coastal will host inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl in 2020ESPN Events is adding a new bowl game to its [more]

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XC

Mohr brothers take major leap at Junior Olympic XCA pair of Grand Strand brothers made strong showings at [more]

National champs highlight Chants' baseball schedule

National champs highlight Chants' baseball scheduleThe Coastal Carolina baseball team and head coach Gary Gilmore [more]

Coast FA teams post solid showings in NC tourneys

Coast FA teams post solid showings in NC tourneysCoach Joel Banta’s Coast 07 Red first received high praise [more]

Chiefs charge back, claim Class 4A volleyball crown

Chiefs charge back, claim Class 4A volleyball crownThe North Myrtle Beach Chiefs went to the Class 4A [more]

Red Wolves leave Coastal one win short of bowl bid

Red Wolves leave Coastal one win short of bowl bidArkansas Red Wolves totaled 454 yards of offense on their [more]

Panthers' gamble pays off in OT win over Lexington

Panthers' gamble pays off in OT win over LexingtonMarc Morris had already showed his hand. The Carolina Forest coach [more]

Seahawks, Green ground, pound Devils in first round

Seahawks, Green ground, pound Devils in first roundIn what could have been the final home game of [more]

No. 10 NMB hits the road, runs past Thoroughbreds

No. 10 NMB hits the road, runs past ThoroughbredsThe No. 10-ranked North Myrtle Beach High football team had [more]

River Bluff pulls the plug on Conway's football season

River Bluff pulls the plug on Conway's football seasonAfter the lights went out, the Gators turned it on [more]

Coastal holds off Howard, loses to Panthers in semis

Coastal holds off Howard, loses to Panthers in semisA change in venue did not squelch the excitement in [more]

Seahawks, Chiefs may reap rewards of rigorous region

Seahawks, Chiefs may reap rewards of rigorous regionMickey Wilson didn’t use the term directly. But the Myrtle Beach [more]

Panthers prepare for tough first-round playoff test

Panthers prepare for tough first-round playoff testIn the last five years, Carolina Forest coach Marc Morris [more]

Chants drop third straight, down to last shot at bowl

Chants drop third straight, down to last shot at bowlCoastal Carolina suffered its third consecutive defeat Saturday to remain [more]

Chiefs charge past Tigers to reach Lower State semis

Chiefs charge past Tigers to reach Lower State semisMatt Reel spent a portion of the moments leading up [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach