Providence Day girls’ soccer coach Dan Dudley was confused when the Greensboro Day coach came over to congratulate him after a loss in the state semifinal game last year.“Congrats?” Dudley, then the assistant coach, remembers saying. “We just lost 2-0.” The program is arriving, the opposing coach told him. “That kind of stuck in the back of my mind,” said Dudley, who is now the head coach and program head at Providence Day. “We kind of set standards and people now, instead of saying, ‘That’s a win on our schedule,’ it’s ‘That’s going to be a tough game.’ That’s what we want.”The semifinal trip, under then-head coach Eric Hedinger (now the head of the upper school), was the first time the program had made it past the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament.Now the players want more. “We made history, which is really cool,” said junior center midfielder Morgan Mosack, 17. “People think it’s a big deal to go to semis, but I think it’s a bigger deal to go to states and win it.” The Chargers graduated two seniors from last year’s team and return most of the starting lineup. But, more importantly, the expectation level is high. “My freshman year, it was nowhere near where we are right now,” said senior center midfielder Catherine Higgins, 17. “I feel like the attitude has changed a lot with the team. Like, we have the motivation to go and we believe that we can go through to states.” Players are starting to take the sport more seriously. Many play club and year round soccer. Mosack decided not to play basketball this year to focus on soccer. Members of the team started working out together in October, something that hadn’t happened since Higgins started high school. Dudley said the team is athletic and quick. It returns two all-conference and all-region players in Mosack (committed to Appalachian State) and sophomore Lauren Lucas, who also made the All-NCISAA team. The Chargers will also rely on the four seniors: Higgins, Stephanie Davis, Amelia Currie and Stephanie Zulman. Dudley said the 18-player roster is deep, without much drop off when the team makes substitutions. “That’s going to be key come end of March, April,” Dudley said. That’s when the Chargers will get into conference play. In the past, the Chargers have struggled to compete with conference rivals Charlotte Country Day and Charlotte Latin.Last year, Providence Day beat Charlotte Country Day twice for the first time in at least seven years. They lost to Latin 1-0 at home last season. “The separation between programs has gotten a lot closer,” Dudley said.Providence Day hasn’t beaten Charlotte Latin since Higgins started high school. The Hawks have also won five straight state championship and are ranked No. 1 in this year’s 3A private school coaches’ poll. Providence Day is No. 3.The Providence Day players aren’t intimidated by Latin. Players from the two teams know each other and play club together. Dudley coaches some of the Hawks at Charlotte Soccer Academy, where he is a director. But beating the Hawks is a main goal for the Chargers. “I think if I don’t set our standards to continue to compete with them and push to beat them, why am I coming out here every day trying to push the program on?” Dudley said. “For me, I think we have a team this year that can beat them. Now, whether we do or don’t, that’s a different story. That’s going to be down to them on the night. But I think we’ve finally got the pieces of the puzzle.” Dudley knows the expectations are high, but he wants his team to keep realistic goals. “Everybody around us is talking about the past and where we have been and the future and what we could be,” Mosack said. “For us, we’re just in the present.” It’s early in the season. The Chargers still have a lot to prove.When Dudley held his first program meeting this year, he asked the players and parents to look around Providence Day’s Mosack Athletic Center. “We’ve done nothing yet,” he said. “Walk around our gym. Let us know if you see a women’s soccer state title (banner). Let me know if you see a women’s soccer picture. Let me know if you see a women’s soccer trophy. You’re not going to find it unless it’s hiding somewhere in a box. ... “Our time is now.”
Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013
Expectations are high for soccer at Providence Day
Providence Day junior Morgan Mosack helped the Chargers' girls' soccer program to its first appearance in the state semifinals last year. With much of the starting lineup back from last year, the Chargers hope to do more this season. COURTESY OF HOLLIE MOSACK
Players to watch • Midfielders Ellie Deaver and Megan Gray, Providence High: Panthers return two all-conference and all-region selections. • Defender Casey Butler, South Mecklenburg: All-conference and all-region performer. • Defender Caroline Alexander, Myers Park: All-region senior signed to play at Alabama. • Forward Ashley Finke, Charlotte Latin: Two-time all-state senior is signed with Davidson. • Midfielder Morgan Mosack, Providence Day: All-region junior committed to Appalachian State. • Forward Jane Cline, Charlotte Catholic: All-state and Observer player of the year back for her senior season. • Midfielder Sarah Phillips, Ardrey Kell: Senior Virginia Tech recruit has been sidelined with injury, but expected to be back around spring break. • Midfielder Adelaide Cummings, Charlotte Country Day: Two-time all-conference and All-NCISAA performer.