BY SHAIN GILLET
Clipper Sports Editor
BOUNTIFUL – As many as 14 seniors were on the Lady Braves squad last year that came within a single goal of capturing a 4A state championship.
They have graduated and gone, but the four seniors back for the 2013 campaign will be just as important this year as Bountiful navigates an expanded Region 6 schedule.
“We’re going to have some young players, but they have a lot of talent and many of them have played club sports for the local teams in the area,” said coach Lou Plank. “This will be a season for the youngsters.”
Plank’s four returning seniors all saw significant playing time last season, and will look to take over the leadership roles on the team.
One of them is Charity Cole, the team’s returning goalkeeper. She had four shutouts during the regular and postseason.
“We’re happy to have her back,” Plank said. “She, along with a lot of her other teammates, has played year-round. Having her with us last year as we made that run (to the championship game) was big.”
Playing in front of Cole will be senior captains Abby McConkie and Christina Plank, the coach’s daughter.
McConkie is a “solid defender” who will play directly in front of Cole for defense. Plank’s ability to play whistle to whistle will be a big advantage for the team, the coach said.
Miranda Tesch, the last of the seniors on this year’s team, played an important role as substitute last year. Plank expects her to play a stronger role this year.
Amy Chidester and Sophia Skedros, a pair of sophomores, were given the extra duty of being team captains, and with good reason, said Plank.
“Amy can start almost anywhere on the field and is a solid player,” he said. “Sophia is kind of between her two older sisters, who have played here before. She can be very physical, but also has good ball control.”
Both, said Plank, understand the responsibilities that come with being a team captain, and have relayed some strong messages to the team already.
Playing in a face-lifted version of Region 6 will also be a challenge. The addition of Kearns and Judge Memorial means the Braves will only play a pair of non-region games.
Kearns will play in Region 6 in all sports. Judge Memorial will be in 3A’s North division during football season only, and will play in Region 6 in all other sports.
“I think it’ll give the region a new dimension, but it also means scheduling strong teams for preseason games is more difficult,” he said. “It’s something that will be new and interesting for (Kearns and Judge). They’re going to realize real quick that this will be a tough region to go through.”
Regardless, Plank is optimistic about the mixture of experience and youth on the roster.
“It’s going to be an interesting season, but we have a strong coaching staff and a good group of players,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Bountiful finished 13-6-1 in 2012, and was 9-1 in Region 6.
Lady Braves 2013 schedule
8-15 @ Davis
8-22 @ Highland
9-5 @ Cyprus
9-10 @ Clearfield
9-12 WOODS CROSS
9-19 @ Kearns
9-24 @ East
10-8 @ Woods Cross