LOUISBURG — The Lady Cats socer team was ready to chase down a state championship a year ago, after placing second in the state in 2019 and 2018.
Louisburg was in the state semifinals three years in a row, advancing to the state tournament in 2017 as well.
The Lady Cats returned 12 seniors from a team that competed in back-to-back state championship games. They were a dynasty, posting a record of 44-18-1 over the three seasons.
And then, the season was lost.
Louisburg lost 12 seniors, and the program is trying to put a team together to make another run, Lady Cat coach Kyle Conley said.
“We have been working hard and trying to replace 12 seniors from the 2020 team that had their season taken away from them,” Conley said. “The kids are focused and are improving each and every day.
“I am proud of how hard they are working and the positive attitude they all have,” he said. “They have bonded really well, and I am really excited to see how this team ends up.”
Veterans back to lead the program are Olivia Barber, senior midfielder; Madi Quinn, senior defender; Emma Christy, senior midfielder; Missy Meigs, senior defender; Liz Guzman, senior defender; Kennady Wilkerson, senior midfielder; Reese Johnson, junior midfielder; Catie Lemke, junior midfielder; Sierra Hahn, junior goalkeeper; Ruth Minster, junior defender; and Samantha McDaniel, junior midfielder.
Newcomers eager to make an impact are Hailey Sword, freshman midfielder; Lola Edwards, freshman forward; Lexi Hampton, freshman forward; Bree Gassman, sophomore midfielder; Nova Ptacek, sophomore midfielder; and Macy Lemke, freshman goalkeeper.
Conley is entering his sixth season as head coach.
“We have three goals as a team,” Conley said. “We want to compete for a league title, win a regional championship and make the state final four.
“This team is extremely young, but we have some really quality players, and we are going to look to grow throughout the year,” he said. “With the sophomores never making it through a season, we have the majority of our team looking to complete a high school season for the first time ever. It will be a lot of fun watching them grow, compete and get better each and every day.”