Indian Springs girls look to repeat as Class 3A champions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Indian Springs School girls&8217; soccer team has a lot to live up to.

A year after winning the Class 3A state title, Indian Springs&8217; head coach Hunter Gray&8217;s squad is trying to fill seven positions left vacant by graduating seniors.

&8220;We&8217;re a little on the young side,&8221; Gray said. &8220;We have only one senior and three juniors on this year&8217;s team.&8221;

Gray is starting four freshman midfielders in Shana Simon, Rachel Bartek, Betsy Stuart and Allison Moore. Simon has her share of varsity experience already, having played with the team all of last year as an eighth grader.

&8220;They definitely have big shoes to fill,&8221; Gray said. &8220;They&8217;re all quality players and have been fitting in very well.&8221;

All of the girls have scored a goal in the team&8217;s first five games.

Gray said he is grateful for the upperclassmen that he does have on the team.

Deni Lorant, Indian Springs&8217; sole senior player, and Kavita Jariwala both play key roles for Gray.

&8220;Deni is one of our captains and she creates a lot of energy for our team,&8221; he said.

Jariwala led the squad in scoring last year with 33 goals &8212; a feat Gray hopes to see her accomplish again.

&8220;She should definitely lead us again in that category,&8221; he said. &8220;We had three of the top six goal scorers in the state last year so that&8217;s something we really take pride in.&8221;

Indian Springs has started the season with a 4-1 record, defeating Class 6A Thompson last week and falling in a close match to 6A reinging champ Vestavia Hills for its only loss.

The team has made the trip to the Class 3A finals the past three years &8212; winning the championship twice.

Gray said that he feels confident in his team&8217;s ability to make another final four appearance this season despite being young.

&8220;I think we&8217;re on track to be back in the final four,&8221; he said. &8220;And once we get there it&8217;s anybody&8217;s game.&8221;

Some big matchups on the calendar for Indian Springs include facing Class 6A Bob Jones High School from Huntsville on March 11 and area rival Altamont on March 15.

&8220;We need a few weeks of consistent play to really tell where we&8217;re at as a team right now,&8221; Gray said. &8220;I think we&8217;ll have a much better idea after April 1.&8221;

Indian Springs squares off against area opponents Parkway Christian and Chelsea this Friday and Saturday respectively