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GIRLS' PREP SOCCER: Carter excited to start first season at John Hardin (8/17)

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By Chuck Jones

By CHUCK JONES cjones@thenewsenterprise.com RADCLIFF – Brittany Carter is returning to her alma mater, and she has high expectations for the program she once played for. Carter, a 2003 John Hardin graduate, takes over for Corey Yates, who guided the Lady Bulldogs to a 6-11-3 record last season in his only season with the program. “Teaching is something I always wanted to do and coaching is a passion of mine, so this combined the two things that I love,” Carter said. “I never felt like I was the best player on the team, but I always felt like I had a knowledge of the game and I knew this is what I wanted to do. Coming back to where I graduated makes it that much more special.” Carter said the preseason has been a hectic time, but one that has been enjoyable. “It’s been exciting and stressful at times,” Carter said. “I feel like I know the game, but learning all the rules … it’s a little different. It’s been a lot of fun working with the girls. We have a lot of young girls, but we also have a lot of talent.” Despite the influx of youth, Carter has been impressed with the team’s physical and mental abilities. “I think we’ve got a lot of speed,” Carter said. “Running is a big part of the game and we have a lot of speed. As young as they are, they understand the game. Usually at this age, the mental part of the game hasn’t developed at the point of older players. But they have the mental aspect of the game. It’s surprised me by how well they do that.” Senior Jessica Howard returns at forward and her sister, Hannah, a freshman, will play the other forward slot. Sophomore Hanna Alcock will see time at forward as well. “Jessica brings in a lot of experience and patience,” Carter said. “She is really confident with the ball. We’ll have a lot of youth around her with a lot of speed. But I expect her to control up front. She has the poise like you would expect from a seasoned veteran.” Sophomore Olivia Greenwell will start in the center midfield, while freshmen Catherine Greenwell and Chelsea Cobbler are battling for the other spot. Freshman Jade Howell could see time in the middle as well. Senior Chelsea Stone, a returning starter, and Alcock will man the outside midfield slots. “Olivia started as a freshman,” Carter said. “She has a lot of talent and she’s very confident with the ball on her feet. She has a monster right leg, which will help us with free kicks. Chelsea has great speed and a lot of experience.” Sophomore Rami Baldwin is slated to start at sweeper, while freshman Macy Higdon will start at stopper. Freshman Rachel Gavin will back up Higdon and Olivia Greenwell could slide sweeper if needed. Senior Latisha Hollings, junior Emily Steck and sophomores Karisa Sisk and Chantler Jernigan are all in the mix for playing time at the two outside back slots. “They are very strong,” Carter said. “Not only are they working well as a unit, but they are physical. Not many people are going to push them off the ball. They have speed and they can quickly recover for each other. They should be a strong part of our team.” Sophomore Jerrica Scovel and Catherine Greenwell are working at goalkeeper. “Jerrica has lots of experience,” Carter said. “She is quick on her feet and she displays good judgment. She has a good punt, which should benefit us.” With so many underclassmen expected to see playing time, inexperience is a concern for Carter. “Our age … We are a very young team,” Carter said. “We don’t have experience at the varsity. It doesn’t make me any less confident in our abilities, but they’ll be playing against teams with a lot more varsity experience than us.” Carter, who was a member of the first graduating class at John Hardin, said she has noticed a big difference in the program since she played. “When I was there, it had just started and we had two schools coming together to form one,” Carter said. “I see where the team is now and it’s one school. You don’t have Central Hardin and North Hardin: It’s John Hardin. The unity and cohesiveness of the team is much better now.” Chuck Jones can be reached at 505-1759