WOODSTOCK – Ciara Philpott can play anywhere on the field for Central’s girls soccer team.
The Central senior midfielder gives coach Kim Dellinger the advantage of knowing if he is missing a player that Philpott can fill the slot if needed.
“You can use her any place on the field,” Dellinger said. “If I want to play her on defense, she plays defense. If I want to her play her at striker, attacker, she can play anywhere on the field. So if we have anyone that’s ever out or hurt or anything else she can fill a gap. And whenever everyone’s healthy she’s a dominant player in the center of the field and kind of feeds out and distributes the ball very well.”
Philpott said that of all the positions she’s played, she enjoys playing at midfielder the best.
“I definitely prefer the midfield, that’s where I’m comfortable,” Philpott said. “It’s a lot of running, which is definitely challenging. But I just like being in the center. I feel like I have a good vantage point around me. I just kind of got used to it. I like feeding the ball, making passes. I feel like that’s kind of my strength.”
In Central’s first game of the season, Philpott had four goals but she said she still enjoys getting an assist as much as scoring.
“I really do like making passes,” Philpott said. “I definitely don’t struggle with that as much as I do with scoring. Passing, I feel like has always come more natural to me.”
Dellinger said that Philpott’s a key asset for the team when she plays at midfielder, not just with assists but leading and keeping the team together.
“She’s always trying to help out other players,” Dellinger said. “She bonds the team as far as getting everybody together a lot of times. And she’s always there with her assists and feeding the balls and things like that. She’s always a distributing factor.”
She has been a starter on varsity for four years and a team captain for the last three years.
Philpott said that she learned a lot her freshman year, which has really helped her improve in the last few years.
“I remember being insanely overwhelmed, because I was not used to this level of play at all,” she said. “And being a freshman I just felt like everyone had to have more experience and everyone was more used to it than I was. But it definitely helped give me a better vantage point of where I was at and what I needed to work on for the following years.”
She said that she has played on travel teams since she was about 10, and has been coached by Dellinger all but one of those years. She said that most of her teammates also have played on the same travel teams in the Shenandoah County Soccer League and that makes a big difference when they play for Central.
Last year she scored nine goals and led the team with seven assists.
Philpott said that this year she is trying to be more aggressive and it’s been showing on the field. She said that she wants to make her senior season her best one yet.
“I used to be kind of timid and kind of let everyone else call for the ball,” Philpott said. “I was kind of scared, but this year I definitely feel like I’m talking more. I’m more assertive, kind of making my presence known and that’s pretty exciting for me.”
Philpott along with sophomore Hannah Dellinger take most of the corner kicks for the Falcons, and Kim Dellinger said that is a big strength of Philpott’s.
“She’s a beautiful corner kicker,” Kim Dellinger said. “She gets a good, high ball right where you want it and it always leads to an opportunity for a header or a one-touch in. They’re usually placed very well.”
The Falcons are off to a 2-1 start, and have a lot of returners back from last year’s squad. The Falcons advanced to regionals last year, and Philpott said she wants to see the team go as far as they can this season.
Central has eight seniors on this year’s team, and Philpott said they have a special bond together and that’s another reason she wants the season to last as long as possible.
“We’ve all worked together for so long, it’s actually kind of sad,” Philpott said. “The beginning of this season we all just kind of talked about like ‘wow this is it.’ We really need to work hard and make it happen. So I’m definitely going to be really, really sad when the end of the season comes around, but I’m excited for now.”