Lady Bobcats finish second season of young soccer program

The Lady Bobcats finished up the second year of Blue Ridge Early College’s soccer program with a final record of 4-6, but won their last four games with wins against Swain County twice, Murphy, and Hayesville.

Blue Ridge Early College varsity soccer team front row from left are Abigail Corona, Bailee Collins, Jenny Contreras, and Brenda Rodriguez. Back row from left are Coach Nick Pressler, Areli Romero, Jazi Ferrin, Holly Foss, Gracie Watson, Chloe Fowler, Mercedes McLaughlin, Kimberly Rodriguez, and Coach Brittany Elkins.

“I think we’re on track with where we need to be,” said BREC Coach Nick Pressler. “With only 11 players, we finished up the season with two girls named to All-Conference and one Honorable Mention.”

BREC Mercedes McLaughlin rips a shot on Swain’s goal at home.

BREC Mercedes McLaughlin and Brenda Rodriguez were named All-Conference, and Holly Foss was an Honorable Mention. Foss said she thinks the team is making progress.

“This is season was pretty good for me compared to freshman year when I had really no idea what we were doing,” said Foss. “But we all improved so much compared to then and I think we had a lot of fun.”

BREC Goalie Gracie Watson sends the ball deep into Swain territory.

BREC Goalie Gracie Watson said it was a tough season, but they are making progress.

“We could have done so much better,” said Watson. “We have a young team, so hopefully in the future we’ll improve.”

BREC Holly Foss launches for a header against Swain.

Watson said she tried playing goalie last year and it was fun, so she stuck with it. However, life in the box can get tense.

“In a one-on-one situation you have to decide whether to come out and defend or stay in the goal, and you only have a couple seconds to decide,” she said.

BREC Bailee Collins clears the ball against Swain.

BREC loses seniors Bailee Collins, Jazi Ferrin, Chloe Fowler, Brenda Rodriguez, and Arelli Romero. Pressler said they will be missed.

BREC Jazi Ferrin maintains position and heads the ball against Swain.

“Their leadership, both on and off the field,” said Pressler. “When the chips were down, they didn’t quit. They’re a big reason we started the girls’ soccer program. We have 7 girls coming back so we have a good foundation, but you never know what next year brings.”

BREC Chloe Fowler moves in to send the ball down the field and out of the danger zone.

Foss said it difficult to predict how the Lady Bobcats do next season.

“I think next year is going be rough,” said Foss. “The seniors that we’re losing are pretty much the ones who have been keeping the teams together, and with not knowing what freshman will play sports, it’s tough to tell.”

BREC Brenda Rodriguez controls a pass and heads straight for Swain’s goal. Rodriguez is also pictured at the top of the article.

BREC Areli Romero sends the ball down the field against Swain.

BREC Jenny Contreras passes the ball under pressure from Swain.

BREC Abigail Corona brings the ball down the sideline against Swain.

Photos from BREC versus Swain at home on April 15.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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