Five questions about West Jessamine girls’ soccer
Published 2:17 pm Friday, October 21, 2022
West Jessamine girls’ soccer coach Ben Hall-Volpenhein did the following Q and A with Journal contributing writer Gillian Stawiszynski over the summer. The Colts are currently 12-8-2 and have advanced to the semis of the KHSAA Girls’ State Soccer Tournament.
Question: Who are your key returning players?
“We have several players that are key returners. Kylie Archer is another senior, she led us in goals last year at 19 goals. Last year was her first year at West Jessamine. She proved to be a fantastic asset. She’s committed to play at Marshall University. Two other ones as well are Karlie Galus, she’s a junior, she was second in goals. She’s just a really versatile athlete, super scrappy, and just good energy. Junior Brooke Beasley was also one of our captains. She hasn’t played a lot yet, due to easing her back in after an injury. She’s a natural leader and does such a good job for us. I don’t know where any of those players are gonna play this year, it took us about the middle of the year to figure out our lineup last year. So it’s our goalkeeper and those four captains.”
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Question: Were there any key players you had to replace from last year?
“We lost four seniors last year, and honestly, none of them went on to play college soccer. Some people look at that and think maybe they weren’t as vital. But we lost two captains, and honestly, from talent, from work ethic, from attention to detail, that senior-level grit- all four of them were really important to us. Alex Smith, who only played one year for us.. She was awesome. Once we moved her to center back, we went 14 straight games with shutdowns, and she was a huge part of that. Katelyn Police was a captain for us that we lost. She was important. Gracie Shifflet, played as a holding midfielder. I think honestly, we lost three of four starting defenders, so we’re trying to replace that defensive cohesion that was honestly from players that accepted their role and loved playing high school soccer and competing at that level.”
Question: What are your team’s strengths this year?
“I think we have some very athletic players, we have some very gritty players, and I think we have some pretty hungry players based on their experience last year. We went further than we probably should have due to talent and depth and youth.” They had lots of sophomores last year, so they gained some experience that was beyond what most teams are gonna get- going to the final four with top-notch teams.
Question: What are some things you’ll have to improve on through the season?
“Communication. So, we’re starting some younger players. We don’t have a lot of depth this year. We don’t have a junior varsity this year, just one varsity team. Due to our experience, we also have some inexperience. We’re talking about communication and leadership, they just don’t know.” “We’re literally playing the best teams in our first ten games, and the young players just don’t know. Frankly, I think our communication is pretty poor.”
Question: What games are you and the team most looking forward to?
“So I think, the way that we designed our schedule, the girls and I looked over it, and it wasn’t meant to be for complacency of like ‘Oh, here’s what we’re accepting’ as much as it’s like ‘Here’s what I designed it for’. So, the first seven games I designed to have one win. I don’t think they’re looking forward to it. But they want to play these teams.”
“They’re probably looking forward to the middle and end the most for two different reasons. In the middle, we’re leaving and going to Gatlinburg, and it’s just a fun trip to be out of school and off campus, and there’s just fun exercises that we’ll do. This has been a tradition since before I got there.”
“I think they’re really looking forward to playing those rival teams if you will- across town rivals type games against friends or against tough teams that we really should be clicking and standing a chance in. Also, just for the simple fact of getting us ready for the postseason with just the experience we had last year and just knowing that if they buy into the process right now and they lose some games early on and they get grit and hungry and trained, they’re looking forward to playing better and really seeing what they can do later in the year.”