After graduating 11 players a year ago, Hahnville has had to completely retool its lineup this season, which has seen it get off to a 4-12 start.
But while a building season was all but inevitable given the turnover of starters, some good news for the Lady Tigers is several of their underclassmen players have shined in their expanded roles this season, including sophomore Marissa Gilbert and freshmen Rachel Durapu, Emily Wood and Amber Hood.
“We’ve got a good core of young players mixed in with our senior class,” Hahnville coach Alex Romero said. “We have a lot of girls who don’t have a ton of club experience but who work really hard. We feel that if some of these girls can play club and get a little more experience to go along with the fact we’ll definitely have a lot of numbers in our underclassmen level, it should allow for some really positive things to happen going forward.”
Gilbert, a strong defender, earned a position as one of the team’s leaders and a captain in just her sophomore season. The three freshmen players have been consistent standouts over the course of play this season, Romero said.
Amber Hood leads the team in goals and is an attacker.
“Amber has a great soccer mind,” Romero said. “She was well-coached growing up. Whenever she’s put into a situation, she has a really good idea of what’s coming and knows where to be, how to score goals and work around defenders. Her experience and instincts already, as a freshman, are a huge plus for her.”
The team has also been able to welcome back several senior players from injury. Donna Hendricks, Tara Stevenson and Kaylee Farmer have all been injured to varied degrees of significance in their careers and have made returns. Farmer has shaken off a knee injury this year, while Hendricks and Stevenson have come back from knee surgery and scoliosis surgery, respectively, this season.
“You’ve got some girls who have had severe injuries able to come back and have that opportunity to play again, and that’s very awesome for them and awesome for us to see,” Romero said, adding several members of this year’s senior class have stepped up their roles as team leaders.
“We’ve had some seniors who really shifted their outlook and personality because they knew they’d be looked to as our leaders,” Romero said. “They’ve shown that work ethic you want. It’s very rewarding to see them change and grow, and we’ve seen a lot of that this year.”
As the rest of the season unfolds, Romero said he wants to see his group continue to grow as a team and earn valuable experience that will go far down the road.