Fresh faces grace the Lady Bulldogs squad this season,as they boast several new players in 2009.
NAHS coach Les Huntington returns six starters from last year’s team that was only one game shy of making the playoffs. Among them are Randi Stephens, Kellie Skinner and Callie Creekmore, along with Ann Maxwell, the lone member remaining from New Albany’s charter team seven years ago.
“I lost what I call everyone up the middle, and that’s left us wide up the middle. I’m having to change my defensive philosophy and build a new system,” Huntington said.
Among those graduated is Paige Zahller, who was the top ranked goal keeper in North Mississippi last season. In her place is Shannon Goode.
“I need them to be able to gain experience in a hurry, not only for this year but for next year as well because that will be the backbone of our team,” Huntington said of the youth on his team.
The second-year coach sees a positive in the smaller division for, and hopes his team can come together in time to make an impact and a run for the playoffs.
“It looks promising because there are only four teams in the division this year. We feel we have an edge on two of them, and I’m hoping we’re on par with the third team. It’s going to be interesting.”
There is a lot of excitement around the team as the season opener is on Monday.
“We feel good, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm. I have a lot of talent, but the team work hasn’t come completely together yet.”