With a load of offense returning, and a slew of newcomers, the sky could be the limit for the Devil Pups.
Last spring, the Lejeune High School girls’ soccer team ended its season with a loss in the first round of the 1A state playoffs, finishing the year 5-13-2 overall and 2-12 in Coastal 8 Conference (1A/2A) play.
But if you ask Coach Charles Teegarden, this season could be a different story.
“We have better skills than we had last year, so my expectations for this year are obviously much higher than last year,” Teegarden said. “I’m certain if we work together as a team, we play together as a team (and) we prepare well that we will make playoffs, and I believe we can have a good run in playoffs.”
Not only does Lejeune have better skilled players than a year ago, they have a bigger roster. They return six players from a year ago, and their leading goal scorer is back, senior Georgia Lee, who accounted for more than half of the team’s offensive output in 2019.
Also returning are seniors Ashley Tagle, Kaitlyn Day, Savannah Gomez-Espinoza, Lu Le and junior Sierra Parzyck.
Newcomers Sara and Marie Kristensen, a pair of sisters from Norway, will be key in stabilizing the middle of the field, according to Teegarden. He also expects freshmen Madilyne Blanton and Katlyn Nix to step up and contribute in a big way this season as well.
The team may have a good idea of who their prominent core players will be, but Teegarden believes the group of 12 upperclassmen and nine freshmen’s strength will be their camaraderie.
“They all get along,” Teegarden said. “With any team, you have your cliques … but this is a good bunch of kids. They want to be here, (and) they want to play together.”
The Devil Pups kicked off the season with a 3-0 win over East Columbus at home on Wednesday night. Their match at North Duplin was rained out on Thursday, but they’ll continue their nonconference slate at Southside on March 9 before hosting North Duplin, March 13.