By KEVIN HARRIS
NEW ALBANY —
The Jeffersonville girls’ soccer team is determined to turn things around after a 4-8-2 campaign in 2012.
The Red Devils showed that determination to have a rebound season on Monday night at Armstrong Field with a 5-1 victory over Christian Academy. It also was the season opener for the Warriors.
“We’re really motivated,” said senior midfielder Devan Carrier, who scored one of Jeff’s five goals. “We’re working hard at practice. We’re doing our best throughout the games to communicate and work together.”
Carrier is one of three team captains for Jeff along with senior midfielder Hannah Scott and junior defender Rebekah Harris. The Red Devils’ other two seniors — Morgan Neeley and Jordan Carpenter — are expected to provide team leadership as well.
Jeff coach Scott Epley has noticed all five players stepping up their leadership roles in the offseason as they try to fill the leadership void left by News and Tribune All-Area player Taylor Davis.
“For the first time in three years, we have seen maybe not necessarily better players, but better chemistry among the teammates overall. I think part of that is attributed to their leadership,” Epley said.
Carrier says one of the ways she has increased her leadership role this season is by coordinating offseason conditioning sessions.
“I’ve stepped up a lot,” Carrier said. “I ran conditioning during off-days when we didn’t have practice. I really try to help the girls that don’t know what they’re doing. I try to help them learn their positions.”
Epley states that the chemistry between Carrier and Scott have aided the Red Devils in jelling together as a team.
“One complements the other pretty well out on the field,” Epley said. “I think we’re getting a lot of it more in the way that they practice than necessarily with vocal leadership. They practice well and they want players to do well out on the field.”
Freshman Emma Finney gave the Red Devils a 1-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the contest. She nailed a 20-yard unassisted shot left of the goal.
Scott recorded Jeff’s second goal with a 10-yard goal with 3:02 left in the first half.
The Warriors cut their deficit in half early in the second half. Sophomore Amy Leffler booted the ball into the upper-right corner of the net with 38:29 left in regulation to make the score 2-1 Red Devils.
But Carrier put Jeff back up by two goals with 33:52 remaining with a penalty kick. Carrier smacked the PK off the hands of diving Warrior goalkeeper Abbey Butler, and the ball deflected into the back of the goal.
“Devan probably has got the biggest heart out there as far as wanting to do everything well and getting everybody in the right place,” Epley said. “She never takes a break. She’s got a full-time engine that never runs out of gas. She goes 100 percent, 100 percent of the time.”
The Red Devils’ final two goals, both unassisted, were by freshman Bailee Calhoun with 24:12 left and junior Camber Sollberger with 3:03 left.
Jeff keeper Ashlyn Crane recorded three saves. The Red Devils outshot CAI on goal, 20-10.
“From the jamboree [last Saturday at Floyd Central], I thought we improved quite a bit,” Epley said. “We had a lot more hustle tonight than we saw on Saturday. We did a few more things right.”
Butler ended up with five saves. Warriors’ coach Brett O’Loughlin says his players have room for improvement.
“There is a lot of things that need to be worked on,” O’Loughlin said. “When we did things right, we caught them offsides seven times tonight. But when we did not do those things, that helped them get their scores.”
Both teams will return to action on Thursday. Jeff will have its home opener against North Harrison, while CAI will travel to Providence to play the Pioneers’ junior varsity team.
JEFFERSONVILLE 5, CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 1
Jeff 2 3—5
Chr. Academy 0 1—1
J — Emma Finney (unassisted)
J — Hannah Scott (unassisted), 36:58.
C — Amy Leffler (unassisted), 41:31.
J — Devan Carrier (penalty kick), 46:08.
J — Bailee Calhoun (unassisted), 55:48.
J — Camber Sollberger (unassisted), 76:57.