Injuries and late season exhaustion have led Woodrow Wilson girls soccer coach Julie Agnor to revisit her philosophy on playing time for the upcoming season.
“Talking with college coaches has been interesting and has cued me in on rest time. By the end of the season last year, we were spent,” Agnor explained. “My goal is to get a good rotation going. Girls don’t want to come out of games, but there is a time they are going to need to rest. I really want to stop the breakdown at the end of the season and the injuries. My philosophy on workouts is even different now.”
Also with a younger and smaller team, Agnor is making some tactical changes that she hopes will pay dividends.
“I did a lot of studying this summer on soccer tactics and things to focus on as a team. We are changing our formations a little bit this year. Our players up the middle will be really key and our back line will have to be really strong with our formation changes,” Agnor said. “We are going to learn some different formations so we can make changes based on the teams we are playing. That will give us some power and help us control how the game is played.”
For the Flying Eagles, midfielders Sophia Hall, Maddy Lanna and Kyndall Dooley, who is coming off an ACL injury, will anchor the middle.
Agnor also says she has a quick group of freshmen that she thinks will really help the team this year.
Although her team is somewhat undersized, Agnor says her girls are not afraid to mix things up.
“Most of our size did graduate, but I have some mighty tough players. They will probably get bounced around more, but they are not afraid to come in on a tackle,” Agnor said.
With a young group, relatively new to the high school pitch, one would think chemistry may be an issue for the Flying Eagles.
Agnor agrees, somewhat.
“Getting them to play together will be crucial, but a lot of them grew up playing travel ball together,” Agnor explained. “This is the age group that has been together for a couple of years, so hopefully meshing them together won’t be too hard. The bigger challenge will be getting them into the positions that best suit them and matching them to the new formations we are going to try.”
The fourth-year head coach also keeps her expectations in check for her young team.
“I think we can have a winning season and honestly that is my goal right now, but the schedule is really hard,” Agnor said. “I don’t feel like I have enough for a JV squad, so I want to rotate the girls in and out of games for more rest time.”
The sectional line-up for Woodrow Wilson contains rivals Greenbrier East, Princeton and Oak Hill. However, it will have a different look this year.
“Each team last year had a dominant player,” Agnor said. “All of them have graduated, so it is like the great equalizer has come about. I think it will be more about the team now as opposed to one or two players dominating play.”
Woodrow Wilson will get its first live action in the pre-season Kick-O-Rama Saturday Aug. 14 in Princeton.