East Lincoln girls soccer gains steam
East Lincoln High’s start to the 2012 girls soccer season didn’t feature many wins, but it was just what coach Jason Dragoon planned.
“We spent the first four weeks of the season just working on passing and ball movement,” Dragoon said. “Then we started working on attacking. It’s a three-part thing: passing, attacking and scoring. If we got goals (early on), great. If not, that was OK. We wanted to play well. My goal was to get this team as good as it could be for conference season.”
The Mustangs won just one of their first six games, a 3-2 triumph over North Mecklenburg High on March 1.
Dragoon said he scheduled the toughest possible non-conference opponents to open up the year in an effort to test his players’ resolve.
His plan seems to have worked.
The Mustangs have fired on all cylinders since they opened up Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference play on March 19 with a 4-0 win over North Lincoln.
Adriene Reavis leads the Mustangs with 16 goals and eight assists. Dragoon said Reavis could break the school record for goals in a season.
“She plays center (midfielder), but we’ve moved her to striker some as well,” Dragoon said. “We’ve had to take advantage of her scoring ability (in conference games).”
Reavis scored three goals in a 7-4 win over Lincolnton on April 17, a victory that pushed the Mustangs to 5-1 in SPC play.
Dragoon said many teams schedule all their non-conference games at the beginning of the year then use the remainder of the season for conference games. But he’s sprinkled in non-SPC games in the middle of the year to help give the team flexibility.
“We’re able to stay on our toes,” Dragoon said.
“I think it’s helped us be prepared,” Reavis said. “I’m used to it now, it’s not the first time we’ve done (a difficult early schedule). It helps us get ready for other games.”
The Mustangs’ tough schedule hasn’t been the team’s only challenge.
Injuries slowed East Lincoln’s progress early in the year.
“We got hurt by injuries, but we’ve started to get girls back,” Dragoon said. “Ciara Mattner, Dalton Bell and Kristin Atwell are making a return to our lineup, and that’s making things easier on players like (Reavis) and (sophomore center back) Tatum Auvil.”
With healthy players for the last six games of the season, the team is looking for a strong finish in conference play.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we have the time to do it,” Dragoon said. “We’re getting there.”
Upcoming East Lincoln games
April 20, at West Lincoln 4 p.m.
April 23, vs. Gastonia Highland Tech, 6 p.m.
April 24, vs. Lincoln Charter, 6 p.m.
April 27, vs. North Lincoln, 6:30 p.m.