The girls soccer landscape changed dramatically following the 2012 season as three coaches stepped aside after good seasons, creating new opportunities and new environments at Eastern, Kokomo and Northwestern.
At Kokomo, long-time Kevin Duggins takes over the defending sectional champ Wildkats after posting a string of double-digit win teams with the Comets. His veteran assistant Chris Rees took over at Greentown as Gang Green hopes to make waves with a veteran group.
At Northwestern, former Kokomo player Samantha Elkins takes over a program that scored 14 wins last season.
Below are looks at the five Howard County schools, starting with the three new skippers.
The Wildkats graduated a large group from last season’s sectional-winning squad that finished 13-6-1. In addition, they lost long-serving coach Myles Geary who stepped down following the season. Enter Duggins, who moves over following a successful run at Eastern.
“I’m really, really excited,” Duggins said. “It’s really hard obviously to leave a program that I’ve been so close to for so long, but I’m really excited to come out to another program to see what kind of good things I can do for them, maybe show them a different perspective as any kid would get who has gone from me to another coach.
“I hope that little change in perspective will encourage that kid and help them become better players and maybe open up a few doors for them as well.”
The Kats graduated 10 seniors and this year’s edition is sophomore heavy, with six pencilled into starting spots.
The defense features senior stopper or sweeper Anh Pham, junior stopper or sweeper Michaela Wade, sophomore wing defenders Grace Cameron and Aubrey Whiteman, and sophomore goalie Catherine Skaggs.
In midfield are junior Taylor Sparling and sophomore Holly Stewart. Those two are expected to fuel the Kats in transition. Sophomore Katelyn Van Horn is the right midfielder and freshman Grace Stout is on the left.