New-look North Adams squad will look to surprise –
By Mark Carpenter –
After turning the North Adams girls soccer program into a powerhouse in southeast Ohio, head coach Dave D’Avignon will handle his final season on the sidelines in 2018, after announcing that this fall would be his final as a head coach.
“I announced before last season, that after coaching varsity soccer for 33 years, including the last 11 at North Adams, I will be retiring after this year,” said D’Avignon, affectionately known as “Coach D” by players and fans. “I wanted to be a part of the first season of the rebuilding process.”
The rebuilding process that D’Avignon refers to begins as the Lady Devils come off a string of very successful campaigns, in 2017 going 14-40 and making their second consecutive trip to the Division III District Championship Game. Graduation hit the North Adams squad hard, as they will be looking to replace the school’s all-time leading scorer in Lakyn Hupp (who tallied 43 goals last season and will be playing at Wilmington College), and record-setting goalkeeper Madee Shipley, who has taken her talents to Muskingum University.
Coming off of four very productive seasons, D’Avignon knows that this year’s Lady Devils will be a different animal.
“If our run is going to continue in 2018, we will have to do it with youth,” he says. “Our team will be made up of just three seniors, five juniors, five sophomores, and eight freshmen. The starting lineup will likely include at least six underclassmen.”
According to the head coach, the Lady Devils will have a number of players to watch, especially on the offensive end of the pitch, where they will work “by committee” to replace the graduated scoring.
“Sophomore striker Karissa Buttelwerth scored 16 goals last year and we will really be counting on her to help fill the void left bu Hupp,” says D’Avignon. “Junior Breanna Piatt will step into a starting role on the front line and freshman Ainsley Grooms should also be a strong addition to our scoring corps. Freshmen Sydney Figgins and Taylor Staggs plus sophomore Braylie Jones will have to control the midfield for us.”
With Shipley departed, the goalkeeping duties will fall to the capable hands of junior Alaina Eiterman, who makes the transition from the offensive front line to the spot between the pipes. The fullback line will include senior captains Jordan Yoder and Laney Hesler, who along with junior captain Mary Sonner and freshman Morgan Shupert will shoulder the majority of the defensive duties.
The Lady Devils have never backed down from playing tough competition, and their 2018 schedule is no different.
“We have a tough schedule,” says D’Avignon. “Our first seven games include five 2017 sectional champions. Even though we will be young, and the success of the team will depend a large part on the development of some inexperienced players, I think we will be an exciting team to watch. If we get a few good bounces, we might just surprise a lot of unsuspecting teams.”
As it has been in recent years, the road to the Southern Hills Athletic Conference title runs through Lynchburg, ad according to Coach D’Avignon, that will again be the case in 2018, as he, tongue in cheek, predicts a race between Lynchburg and the rest of the field.
The 2018 Lady Devils will include: freshmen Taylor Staggs, Kylei Miller, Alana White, Ainsley Grooms, Morgan Shupert, Laura Hesler, Paige Scales, Kaylee Tumberson, and Sydney Figgins; sophomores Alyssa Mays, Karissa Buttelwerth, Maleia Eldridge, Braylie Jones, and Brianna Robinson; juniors Tory Pence, Mary Sonner, Alaina Eiterman, Breanna Piatt, and Kaitlyn Shreffler; and seniors Laney Hesler, Cloie Vance, and Jordan Yoder.