Weekly Feature



2014-09-10 / Sports

Lady Blue Devils soccer uses athletic ability across the field

by BRANDON KILIJANSKI
Reporter

The theme to this year’s Kenmore West girls soccer team is athleticism.

The majority of the girls on the team are three-sport athletes, which make the Lady Blue Devils a fast and aggressive bunch this year.

Last season the team finished just 2-14, but head coach Clarence Boatman has a lot of confidence in this athletic group.

“I am very optimistic at this point. We are working together as a team,” Boatman said. “We work the ball as a team, move more as a unit and take advantage of our opportunities. This is a good group of passers and shooters, I’m very happy with our preseason scrimmages.”

Kenmore West has a pair of senior captains leading the team this season in Lauren Lepovich and Ashley Raymond.

“Lauren is a tough kid who can play the entire game,” Boatman said. “She is a good distributor with a wonderful work ethic and keeps the team together. Ashley is a hard worker that’s always trying to do what’s best for the team. She is a role model for the rest of our players.”

In addition to the captains, the Lady Blue Devils have six other seniors contributing on the field including Sydney Blatner, Destiny Catania, Bayley Balch, Autumn Jenks, Rebecca Meldrum and Katie Proy.

“There are a lot of expectations for these seniors, they’ve worked hard throughout the years,” Boatman said. “Almost all of them are three-sport athletes who are good academically also.”

One of the largest holes to fill this season is between the pipes as Kenmore West graduated all-star goalie Hannah Post last season.

Helping to take over in goal this year is sophomore Hannah Gallivan, who was called up from the junior varsity team.

“She is tall, has played soccer for six years and knows the game well,” Boatman said. “She never played goalie full time, but she has a lot of athletic ability.”

Boatman’s other option is in junior Lina Mirabella, who will be playing her first full season of high school soccer. Mirabella is another three-sport athlete, and Boatman recognized her athletic ability during the softball season while he was keeping score.

“She makes diving catches parallel to the ground and I liked her movement as a catcher,” he said. “You can always train an athlete to play goalie.”

Offensively, the Blue Devils have four underclassmen leading the way in sophomores Grace Ferguson and Emma Pfohl and freshmen Jessica Leone and Milena Ellis.

“We struggled scoring last year, but I think we have a couple of kids that are more experienced and becoming stronger shooters,” Boatman said.

On the back end, Kenmore West will be led by a pair of sophomores Jessica Phillips and Rachel Sefried.

With all of the athleticism on this year’s squad, Boatman said he wants to play a more fast paced and aggressive style of game.

“We’ve been working on our transition game a lot in practice. It’s coming along good,” he added.

Another key addition, which has been helping put an emphasis in the transition game, is assistant coach Corey DeVille. He played four years of collegiate soccer at SUNY Cortland and helped last year with the modified program.

“He is one of reasons we are excited this season,” Boatman said. “He is explaining [the transition game] to the girls tremendously and it’s becoming a bigger part of our game this year.”

Kenmore West has started this season with a pair of losses to Lew-Port and North Tonawanda. But there is still plenty of time for the Lady Blue Devils to put together a winning streak.

“Through practice and the preseason this team worked very hard. They are very much together and have gelled well,” Boatman said.

email: brandonk@beenews.com

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