Caldwell Soccer Looking Forward to a Good Year With 10 of 11 Starters Returning
By Julie LaFollette
Caldwell Head Coach Kelli Fry begins her second-year coaching by returning 10 of 11 starters from last year’s team. “I have a lot of really good people returning. They have a lot of skills and are working hard to improve. With five seniors and eight juniors, we have an experienced team. We only lost one starting senior and are returning more depth with quality substitutes. I am looking for them to do some good things this year.”
Coach Fry would like to see her team improve on last year’s results. “We made it to the Sectional Championship game last year and I would like to take that one this year. There are several teams that we split with last year that we want to sweep this year. Our goal is to qualify for the OVAC tournament; they will be taking six teams so that does improve our chances. I fully intend for us to be in the tournament this year. We have the potential to make a good run in the state tournament.”
The Redskins return five seniors: Zac Frame, Phillip Kowalsky, Teagan Secrest, Paisley Sidwell, and Brie Morgenstern. “They have all been with me since they were just little in rec soccer,” Coach Fry said. “They literally fill out everything from offense to defense. I put them out there and I don’t have to tell them what I expect; they know.
Caldwell has eight juniors on the squad and most of them are returning starters: Chaz Pfeffer, Carter Wheeldin, Brody Schockling, Jonas Copley, JR Curry, Jaxson Guiler, Garrett Brown, and Sadie Watson. “This is a good group of soccer players. They can all play almost anywhere on the field and will all play hard. They are very skilled as well.”
Four sophomores are on the roster with Remy Secrest, Maggie Howell, and Laynie Sidwell all returning from last year and Romy Moore playing for the first time. “The three returning sophomores all saw playing time last year as freshman. They have all been working hard and improving their game,” Coach Fry said.
Three Freshmen round out the roster for Caldwell: Braylon Fry, Talon Bettinger, and Raelyn Clark. “These three are a great addition to the program and bring some diversity in what they can do.”
Frame has been the leading scorer for the past few seasons and therefore draws a lot of attention, so Caldwell is looking to mix things up. “We have a lot of kids that can score including Kowalsky, Teagan Secrest, Wheeldin, Pfeffer, Schockling, Copley, and Curry,” Fry stated. “I have good shooters across the board, even into the defense, so there is no reason we have to leave it to one person.”
Coach Fry continued, “Our front line is all returning from last year so we will be working in some new faces to try some different things. With the offense we run we will be working on positioning on the field, going forward and back, filling in the sides, flipping when necessary. They are learning to read the field rather than waiting for me to call a switch. I trust them to make those decisions when needed.”
Brown returns in goal for the Redskins. “He stepped up during a scrimmage last year and has been our goalie since then,” Coach Fry stated. “He is so reliable and does what is asked and more. He went to a couple camps in the off season to work on some things. We are trying to utilize him more in the process of play, passing back to him and having him play out of the backfield.”
Caldwell graduated just two players, Luke Figel and Chloe Ingram. “We lost a reliable sub and a starter,” Coach Fry commented. “Luke was that quiet leader on the field and Chloe helped keep things positive all of the time with her great attitude. I am sad to see them both go.”
The Redskins look to improve upon last year’s sectional runner-up finish and 7-9 record. They finished the season with a 6-1 loss to Northwest in the sectional finals.
The Redskins will play the first half of the season mostly on the road as they are still readying their new field for play. The field is located behind Caldwell Elementary School and is adjacent to the baseball field. “It will be nice to have our own home,” Coach Fry stated. “We are very grateful for all the help we have had to get this field ready to use. We are thankful that Mr. Gruver and the Caldwell band have agreed to share this field with us as it is also their practice field. We also want to thank Ricky Winegardner, Rich Trisler and his whole crew, and Joey and Mike Schott. They have done a phenomenal job trying to get this into a playable soccer field. It is still a work in progress and has been a team effort.”
“We will open with West Muskingum again this year,” Coach Fry said. “We will play Belpre in the regular season this year instead of as a scrimmage like last year as our second game. The Noble County Cup will be played at Shenandoah this year; we would like to thank Ken Perkins and McVay Perkins Funeral Home for sponsoring that. We tried to mix it up a little more this year, so we weren’t playing a lot of really competitive games back to back. We want to have a few more opportunities to work in some of the younger players.”
Carrie Secrest and Stacey Frame will assist Coach Fry again this season. “The three of us work together so well. Stacey handles all of the stats and uploads them to the various places, which is so helpful. Carrie is a second set of eyes on the field for me. She helps with the strategy and positioning on the field. I could not do this without the help of these two coaches.”
The Redskins will open their season on Tuesday at West Muskingum at 4 pm.