Lady Wildcats End Amazing Season
Reflections by Coach Baldwin
The Lady Wildcats ended the 2023 season in the 3rd
round of the State Playoffs against Bishop McGuiness. South’s final record was 11-7-2, 6-6 in conference 4th place.
My thought going into the season was that of great uncertainty. We had a lot of girls
come to workouts but by the time the first game came around we had 15 players.
Big Questions entering the season, Who is going to play goalie? The answer presented itself in the second of 4 preseason scrimmages
against Providence Grove when Freshman Maris Metcalf volunteered to try. She played every minute of the season in goal.
As a coach, having a reliable player in the net is essential to building a good team. Maris worked hard and by the
end of the season had come into her own on the field.
How will the freshmen fit into the
team? Four Freshman started the first game of the season. Faith Frizzell started at Center defender.
Faith is an amazing player. She is calm on the ball and our most skilled player. Since I have been at South Faith
is the first field player to be honored as all conference player. Kaylynn Lemons started at forward, midfield, and defender.
Kaylynn is a versatile player that plays harder than most kids in the conference. Her learning curve was steep this
year and she should be much better next year.
Kaylynn was our second leading scorer
on the team with 11 goals and led the team with 11 assists. Kaylynn had the winning goal in the 1-0 win against Murphy in
the first round of the playoffs. In the Second round she scored a goal and had an assist. Karson Money had experience playing
and instantly moved into one of the most difficult positions on the field at Center Midfield. You want your best players right
down the middle and Karson slotted right in. Karson improved during the course of the year and should be a major contributor
next season. Shayna Freeze and Madison Nobles, also freshman, contributed at outside midfield and will be crucial to
team success moving forward.
How will we score enough goals to be competitive? Natalie
Soles Senior Captain, 2 time all conference and team MVP provided the answer. Natalie scored 28 goals this season. She had
the game winner in 9 of our 11 wins. She scored last second and OT winners against South Stanly and Lexington twice.
Natalie started her career at Goalie. She played defender against the better teams and scored at an amazing rate. Her work
and scoring will be hard to replace.
Random points. Senior Captain Lanie Hulin finishes
her career having made incredible improvements as both a leader and player. Lanie always wants to win and the past two seasons
she has really put in the work to be the best she could. Her on the field abilities were surpassed by her leadership and tireless
work to encourage her teammates. Her attitude was infectious and she helped the staff and players to be their best. Scored
her first career goal against Thomasville.
Biggest Surprise…Whitney Driggers. Sophomore
Whitney Driggers moved to South from Pennsylvania at the end of last school year. She wasn’t here during girl’s
season and came out this season as an unknown identity. She played alongside the other defenders and supported Kyra
Simms on the left of defense and together they were a formidable duo.
Middle work. As a
team our greatest improvement from the start to the end of the season was at outside midfield. Captain Zoe Anderson earned
player of the game in the first round playoff win. Her corner kicks, long throw ins, and link up play with Natalie Soles was
the basis of our offense. Zoe has improved immensely over the course of the last three seasons and we will look to her as
the team leader next year. Also in the middle field were Taylor Sura, Haley Whitaker, Faith Zydzik, and Kylie Wright. Taylor
and Faith were responsible for man marking the other team’s best players game in and out. They work tirelessly to win
the ball and play it up to the forwards. They are both the type of player to do a thankless job every week but never complain.
I am so glad they will be returning.
Haley scored the 2nd of 3 goals in the second
round win against Cherokee. Her overall game has really improved and she is going to be crucial to the team next season. Kylie
struggled through injury and was finally healthy at the end of the season and should play a big role in next season’s
Many Thanks to the parents and to my Assistants, Paul Anderson and Lauren Surratt.
Also a huge thank you to Kim Frizzell for driving the bus safely to and from the games this season. We could not have done
it without the student helpers. Managers Karsten Loflin and Ashlyn Dean. Mauricio ZepedaHuerta, Sam Parks, and Levi Sexton
for all the hard work at practice to challenge the girls.