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Girls Soccer Preview: County teams to enjoy ride with fresh talent

Century's Kaylee Titus moves the ball during girls soccer practice on Aug. 9. Titus is one of only a few returning players from the Times all-county first team in 2016.
Century's Kaylee Titus moves the ball during girls soccer practice on Aug. 9. Titus is one of only a few returning players from the Times all-county first team in 2016. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO)

Century lost a large group of seniors to graduation from last year's county and Class 2A West championship team, but senior defender Kaylee Titus isn't letting those absences keep this year's Knights from staying persistent.

With that comes pushing one another to perform at their best ability, Titus said.

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"I think we're keeping the level high and replacing the roles that have already left," Titus said. "Rachel Wagner was a great player for us and she's gone, but we have a bunch of great, new players coming in to take her role and I expect the level to be the same."

Wagner led the Knights with 25 points (eight goals, nine assists) and scored a goal in the team's 2A West final victory over Damascus, good for a second regional title. The Knights also enter the season as reigning county champions for a fifth straight year.

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Holding on to their streaks is a goal the team is striving to keep, Titus said at the first day of fall practice. It's a challenge every year, but the Knights are bringing in a good mix of fresh talent that coach Sara Figuly is already showing an early desire to win.

"I think it keeps it fresh for you," Figuly said. "The past couple years we've had the same people coming back so it's new for everybody. It takes a little bit more time but it kind of takes you back to the basics. We have people playing new positions and moving around in different formations with different players to see who meshes well together and finding the best combination of girls who play well together. It really keeps you on your toes and it's exciting to look forward to see it really come together."

Girls Soccer Preview Capsules

The Knights have two scrimmages under their belt and Figuly said she has already seen improvement. Titus and fellow seniors Lisi Hurst, and Kelsey Morrison, along with juniors Emily Rusk and Megan Snyder bring their talent and skill back to the team this season to help the Knights' new additions grow into their own.

This season is a special one for Westminster junior midfielder Regan Miller because she's playing with girls that are not only teammates, but her close friends.

The Owls will be without Times first-team all-countians Caroline Frock (graduation) and Taylor Whitmer (injury) this season.

Frock led the Owls' defensive unit to seven shutouts last year and Whitmer led the team with 26 points (nine goals, eight assists). Miller, another first-teamer in 2016, has been a varsity team member since she was a freshman and she said her goal is to help the team advance to the state final.

"We have two upcoming freshmen who will be good," Miller said. "One scored our only goal against Howard [on Tuesday], and that's exciting. We have a lot of fast players this year with speed on our side and a lot of numbers everywhere. I think we're going to see who fits the best and go from there."

Miller added that the Owls will have depth at the defensive position as well and she is looking forward to watching how that unit develops as the season progresses.

Look for Manchester Valley and Winters Mill to return with plenty of talented players this year. The Mavericks handed Century its lone county loss last season and will not have Times first-teamers Beanie Colson (graduation) and Tayler Warehime (cross country) this year.Colson (graduation) and Tayler Warehime (cross country) this year.

Winters Mill senior forward Anna Diffendal, the reigning Times Girls Soccer Player of the Year, is back for the Falcons along with first-team all-countians Kyla Holt and Erin Snyder and should be consistent this season.

Francis Scott Key has a new coach in Scott Matteson and said via email there is a good mix of veterans among the Eagles to round the team out. Liberty and South Carroll each lost first team all-county picks to graduation but will contend with confidence this year.

"I just like to see the new girls grow as players," Titus said. "Of course, you start out very nervous but as the season progresses you get to see them grow into new roles and see them unite and see the team come together as a whole. It's cool to see."

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mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-7893

twitter.com/mwoodwardCCT

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