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Lady Crusaders taking 2014 one game at a time

Littleton has the leadership of seniors Meagan Bircher, Jordan Odell, Madison McNamara, Maya Northrop and Olivia Chartier. James Barrett. (click for larger version)
September 01, 2014
LITTLETON — After an eight-win season in 2013, the Littleton Crusaders girls' soccer team had a roller coaster season to say the least. After graduating seven seniors, the 2014 season has some questions that will have to be answered. Thankfully, the roster for the Lady Crusaders this season sees a large amount of returnees, including seniors Meagan Bircher on defense, Olivia Chartier at forward, Madison MacNamara at mid or forward, Maya Northrop at midfield and Jordan Odell at keeper.

The senior leadership is all there for the Lady Crusaders, however where the team may lack is in the experience of the underclass talent. With only two sophomore players and one junior to speak of, the starting roster for the Crusaders is missing some experience in some key areas of the field. One sophomore that had a breakout season in 2013 was forward Emma Bogardus. Bogardus was missing from nearly every opponent's radar last season before she was able to show some serious potential.

This season, head coach Kory Pinard, who is in his 13th year at the head of the team, is taking a nurturing approach to the team.

"We really don't want to put too much pressure on our underclass players," Pinard began. "We had some players who had a great season last year. But in our current position with a big gap in the sophomore and junior years, it is important for us to not pressure them too much."

This season the team "seems to be motivated by being knocked out so early" of the playoffs last season. Pinard also is instilling the rich history of success that the Littleton High School has acquired over the years.

"The key for us this season is going to be to get wins and build up our momentum," Pinard noted. "Its always better to end near the top at the regular season, especially if you consider the middle of the standings is all relatively even."

Last season the Lady Crusaders struggled with some tough injuries to key players that prevented the team "from building chemistry." This season the team is relatively healthy and "appears to be gelling well," according to Pinard. "It makes it really tough for team, like our girls last year, when you cant keep everyone healthy," Pinard added. "With a younger team like we have this year, health is very important. It gets harder when you have such an active group like we have. Sometimes they have to take a rest so they don't overwork outside of practice."

With all that said the Lady Crusaders opened their season under the lights of Apthorp Field on Friday, Aug. 29 (after the early Labor Day deadline) against Profile. They also have a home game today at 4 p.m. versus the Canaan-Pittsburg Yellow Jackets. Both games should be a good gauge as to where the Crusaders fall in the early stages of the season in Division Four.

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
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