NLHS Lady Mustangs counting on experience, leadership for soccer season
The East Lincoln Lady Mustangs soccer team hopes that experience and leadership will guide the team to another successful season.
The team returns six starters from last season, including 17-year-old senior attacking center-midfielder Adrienne Reavis. Reavis, a captain for the Mustangs was a leader both on and off the field last season, and hopes to end her senior season on a high note.
“Adrienne is the centerpiece of almost everything we do,” said head coach Jason Dragoon. “She is very versatile, playing multiple positions for us depending on our opponent and the score of the game. She does so much for us off the field as well, preparing other players, building her teammates’ confidence up through positive visualizations and role modeling, and great decision making in and out of the classroom.”
Reavis began playing soccer when she was three under her mother’s direction. By age 10, Reavis started to be more competitive in the sport, and got into club soccer.
“I love competition,” said Reavis. “I also like that it’s a team sport and I can play with girls that are my best friends. It makes it more enjoyable.”
Reavis netted 24 goals and 18 assists last year while playing half her matches at the center back position.
Another senior and captain on the team is Ciara Mattner. Mattner leads from the defensive center midfield position, and is a solid passer.
“Ciara is a central figure on our team, and she is very key to the transition of our team both from defending into the attack and vice-versa,” said Dragoon. “She is one of the best holding players I have ever coached with respect to gender. She does an excellent job of reading the opponent at the moment they gain possession and cutting off their attack, and does just as good of a job taking our team from a defending position into an attack under control. She sees the field well and is able to get us from one side to the other quickly, allowing us to efficiently change the point of attack.”
Mattner began playing soccer at a young age but stopped for a while until middle school. That’s when she got back into the sport and got competitive.
“I like the rush when you make a good pass or the team wins off a cool goal,” said Mattner about why she loves soccer. “My goal this year is to do my best to help the team get to the state championship.”
Defense is a staple to Coach Dragoon’s soccer teams. Another leader on his team is 18-year-old senior defender Tori Morgan. Morgan got into soccer after watching her brother play, and was hooked.
“It looked fun,” said Morgan. “So I decided to play.”
Now in her senior year, Morgan is a top notch defender and isn’t afraid of a challenge.
“My strength is that I defend well,” said Morgan. “I also win balls in the air and take on players.”
She is so fierce and unafraid to back down, that she once got a ball smashed into her face. It gave her a concussion, but the senior is fine now and hoping to lead her team to a deep playoff run.
“Tori brings a great work rate and intensity to the team,” said Dragoon. “She plays with passion and drive, and her determination pushes her teammates.”
The three seniors and captains for the Mustangs are in their fourth year of varsity soccer. They have won two conference championships, lost in the third round to the eventual state champs last year, and lost in the state quarter finals their freshman year. All three have been high impact players and central figures of each team over the last three years so neither is a stranger to playing under pressure and winning.
Another piece to this year’s Mustangs soccer team is 15-year-old sophomore Tatum Auvil. Auvil was recently named to the Sub-Regional Olympic Development Program roster for North Carolinas second team for her age group. She traveled to Virginia where she played center and outside back in both matches of the Sub-regional event.
She started playing soccer when she was four, and has never stopped. She continues to progress and grow as a player each year and is only a sophomore.
“As the season went on last spring she became an integral part of our attack and really helped us over achieve as a team,” said Dragoon. “She is really coming along as a player; she has picked up some speed and strength in the off season and is turning into a very high level college player. We hope this year she can hold down the back line along side sophomore Megan Lauterer.”
Like most girls on the Mustangs soccer team, Auvil loves the team aspect of the sport.
“I love the feeling of family,” said Auvil.
Auvil hopes to become more of a leader this season and continue to be aggressive. Last year the team lost to Cuthbertson in the state playoffs, leaving a bitter taste in the mustang’s player’s mouths and emotionally drained. She hopes to lead her team back this season and improve on their playoff performance.
The Mustangs are very young coming off the bench with three freshman, two sophomores, and five juniors and two seniors, all of whom saw limited time if any at all on the field for the varsity team last year.
The team also has two seniors who are currently dealing with medical issues that may not let them back on the field but are working hard to contribute any way they can, even if it is just being around to support the new girls and coach them up from the sideline.
“We feel very good about our current team,” said Dragoon. “The girls seem to be gelling already very well and on the field we are about a month and a half ahead of last year at the same time both technically and tactically. We need to stay healthy and not rush winning; we have a lot of work to do and a very strong schedule, especially early on. We just hope to be in the conversation come mid May, and to build on our third round appearance from last year.
With Lake Norman Charter, (a favorite to win the 1A state championship), being added to the conference and North Lincoln getting Kayla Harrison back from knee surgery, and Cherryville and West Lincoln returning most of their squads from last year, and Lincolnton playing with offensive weapon Larrissa Bonilla, our conference is going to be very difficult to finish high in, let alone win.”