WOODSTOCK- Central’s girls soccer team may have to rely a little more on defense this season.
The Falcons lost their top two scorers from last year’s team to graduation, but still have a good chunk of their defense returning.
“We have some good players returning,” Central coach Kim Dellinger said. “We did lose some of our defense but not all of it. So I think defensively we’ll still be in good shape.”
The Falcons defense was led last year by Gracie Foltz, who is now a junior. Dellinger said he may move Foltz to forward some this season to help with the offense.
The Falcons return all-state senior goalkeeper Kendall Herbaugh, who last year led the area with 263 saves and had six shutouts.
“She’s been with us forever,” Dellinger said of Herbaugh. “She’s been with us since we’ve done the travel team. She’s been with us in high school and everything else. She’s a well-seasoned keeper. She knows that she can direct the team with almost everything she does. In practice she’s trying to get them going, which takes a load off of me, because she can motivate players to do things when I’m not in that area of the field. And she gets the defense directed a lot.
“I think that will be a saving grace for us. It’s always good to have a goalkeeper as good as she is.”
Herbaugh said she likes what she’s seen from the defense so far this season.
“We have always been a defensive team through the years under Kim (Dellinger),” Herbaugh said. “We still have most of our returnees on defense. And I still feel like it’s going to be one of our strong points on the team as well as our offense. We’re looking to do as well as always on offense and score more goals.”
The Falcons lost nine players to graduation and Herbaugh said she had played with that group for many years and it feels a little different for her this season.
Central 2018 graduates Ciara Philpott and Lauren Cook had a combined 30 goals last season to lead the Falcons.
The top returning scorer for the Falcons is junior Hannah Dellinger, who scored five last season.
Central has only five seniors this season and three of them did not play last year. Herbaugh and Summer Sypolt are the only two seniors returning from last year’s squad.
The Falcons have three freshman and three sophomores on this year’s squad and Kim Dellinger said he’s been happy with what he’s seen from his younger players.
Kim Dellinger said that the team has a tough non-district schedule and the team will use that to get ready for the Bull Run District season.
“I think those (non-district) games will be growth games,” he said. “Whenever we get to those district games we got to really buckle down and play our game. And learn from the ones that we played before. And win or lose, we have to give everything we’ve got. And learn as a team how to work and cooperate together.”
Central starts its season off at Turner Ashby on March 12.
Herbaugh said she believes the team will be successful, despite being young.
“I definitely feel good with what we can do,” Herbaugh said. “Most people are probably not expecting much out of us, losing who we did. But I feel like we’re going to come out, and we’re really going to show people what Central girls soccer is.”