HCHS soccer teams conclude season
Progress was the theme for the first two soccer teams in Harlan County history as the Harlan County girls, in their second year, posted a 10-5-2 season, and the HCHS boys, in their first season, finished 2-12-1.
Both teams qualified for regional competition, but both suffered blowout losses in the first round as the girls fell 9-0 to North Laurel and the boys lost 10-0 to South Laurel, both at Corbin High School.
It’s really a bittersweet ending to our season,” said HCHS boys coach Andrew Williams. “It’s sad that our season has come to an end, but at the same time I couldn’t be more proud of these boys. When we first began practice, most of the boys barely knew the correct way to play the game of soccer. To know that we came from that to win a postseason trophy and then for us to make it to the regional tournament is a huge accomplishment. These boys deserve all of the credit, and the future is bright.”
Harlan County will lose two players to graduation in Marcus Kelly and D.J. Riechman.
“They have given so much to the program and we will miss them, but we are so young that it excites me for what we can be. We will bring back a majority of our team, and they are already itching to get to work. These boys are the best and I’m proud to be their coach. If they put their effort into the offseason then the sky is the limit for their futures.”
The Lady Bears accomplished several milestones, including the first season with 10 or more wins, the first season to win the outright district regular season championship, the second straight district runner-up finish and regional tournament appearance.
“When we started the season, I told our girls that this year was going to be tougher. We played a tougher schedule than we did last year and we progressed as the season went along. From the first scrimmage of the year to the last game of the year this looked like a different team. We got better in all facets of the game,” coach David Day said.
“I know it sound odd, but I was excited after our loss to North Laurel on Monday. That was the best team in the mountains in my opinion and we played them for the full 80 minutes. Had we played them earlier in the year they would have mercy ruled us early in the game, but our girls battled and could have had a couple goals.”
Harlan County will lose three players to graduation in Chelsey Caldwell, Allison Cook and Jordan Blevins.
“Chelsey has been a two-year starter for the team, and although Allison and Jordan only played this year they made their presence felt on the team,” Day said. “They will be hard to replace, but we have a lot of young talent with eight returning sophomores, four returning juniors and nine returning that will be seniors. Our team will be as good as the girls want it to be. With a lot of hard work in the off-season we can compete in the coming years.”