BOUNTIFUL--For a team that only won two games all of last season, a 2-1 win over Spanish Fork Aug. 8 in Bountiful’s season opener was a huge start to the 2017 season.
“We look pretty good, much better than last year,” head coach Lou Plank said. “We kind of joked that we’re halfway through our goal of at least matching last year’s win total.”
Bountiful’s first goal of the year was scored by Whitney Turner in the first half for a 1-0 lead at the break. The Dons tied things up halfway through the second half and with just a minute left in the game, Summer Ashby netted the game winner.
“We outplayed them the majority of the game and had several other opportunities to score, but we just couldn’t convert,” Plank said. “But it was a good win and we’re off to a good start.”
Plank said his coaching staff is still determining which system is the best one to run with the personnel he has on the field this season. “For the next few games, we’ll be running two or three different formations to see which one works for this group,” he said.
This season, the team will be led by six captains – senior Mallory Evans, sophomore Alex Hoffman, senior Ashley Quinn and those who will be carrying the “lion share of the attacking load,” according to Plank, junior Ashley Wilkinson, senior Summer Ashby and senior Whitney Turner. Plank said senior goalkeeper Karli Christensen will also be key to the Braves’ success this season.
Team building and synergy has been a focus for the Braves along with getting accustomed to playing at full speed in the heat of the day.
“We’re a little all over the place in terms of which class is carrying the load, as we have freshman through seniors playing on varsity,” Plank said. “But, the team culture and mood is really positive and these girls are really happy to be around each other on and off the field.”
Also on the 2017 squad are seniors Tillie Neff and Katie Tanner; juniors Lauren Garlick, Audrey Gowans, Jaila Hill, Lauren Koob, Keira Morrell, Megan Quinn and Katie Smith; sophomores Nelly Baxter, Hailey Bleazard, Olivia Connell, Abby Hamlet, Lou Hodge, Kinsley Jensen, Beata Price-Huish, Savannah Robinson, Zoe Southers, Kate Strong, Micaela Vazquez and Jessica Watkins; and freshmen Lydia Bell, Ester Broom, Megan Gardner, Jemelle Latu, Emma Lindsey, Lauryn Longmore, Ruby Swenson and Keri Vance.
“These are a really fun bunch of kids with a really good coaching staff,” Plank said. “It’ll be interesting to see how this new Region 5 plays out.”
Plank is being assisted by Robyn Jordan, Kyle Hoffman, Michel Britte, Kendra Smith and Cole Palmer on the coaching staff, with Wendy Evans and Cherry Hoffman as team managers.
Also this season, Bountiful faced Layton Aug. 10 and lost 2-0. The Braves held the Lancers scoreless in the first half before giving up two goals in the second.