Lady Wolves ready for 2022 season

Published 4:57 pm Thursday, August 18, 2022

Co-Lin Women’s Soccer had a 2021-22 season full of highs and lows including six overtime games in 16 games played. The Lady Wolves came up short in five of those six matches, but head coach Tom Cosgrave says his squad is ready for the new challenge of the 2022-23 season and is looking to be on the other end of those close matches.

“We are really excited about our team that has a good mix of experienced returners and talented newcomers,” Cosgrave said. “I think last year we struggled with our depth and that hurt us in late game situations, so this year we have added and increased that depth with our new players and that will give our team a big boost.”

“Another thing that will help us this season is getting some key players back from injuries last season, which hurt us especially in conference play,” added Cosgrave. “Last season we struggled with nagging injuries across the whole squad and that hurt us in a lot of those overtime games, and we hope by having a bigger squad that we will have more players contributing important minutes throughout the season, which will be especially helpful in late game situations throughout the year.”

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This year’s squad has 24 players including 13 returning sophomores and 11 incoming freshmen. AC alumn Madi Cooley is one of the freshmen on the team. Cosgrave said he is expecting big contributions from players in both groups which will help the squad reach their goals.

Jessie Heflin (Florence) at defender had a great freshman year for us and we expect the same from her during her sophomore year. She is a really smart defender with the way she plays and puts herself in the right positions…we expect her to be a leader on the backline,” stated Cosgrave. “Freshman Charlie Corby (Corby, England) brings in a wealth of experience from playing at a high level in England where she scored a lot of goals. I think she will help us on the offensive attack and score a lot of goals for us this season. We are excited to see many of the other incoming freshmen push our sophomores for those starting spots out on the pitch.”

Goalkeeper Alex Moon (Poynton with Worth, England) also returns for the Lady Wolves after finishing third in the NJCAA in Division II Women’s Soccer in saves with 165. Moon also had a Top 25 save percentage at 81.3 percent. Midfielders Anacia Leyland (St. Helens, England) and Sarah Nalley (Brandon) return this year after Leyland missed most of the previous season due to injury but had one goal and one assist during her playing time while Nalley was third on the team in goals with two and led the Lady Wolves in assists with three last season. Taylor Ford (Florence) returns to the Lady Wolves after leading the team in both goals and total points at seven and 16 respectively while Alana Dear (Madison) also brings experience for the Lady Wolves offense as she was second on the team in goals and total points with four and ten. Both players also accounted for two assists each which was tied for second-most during the previous season. Forward Jane Claire Newman (Caledonia) saw action in all 16 games for the Lady Wolves last season accounting for two goals, while midfielder Annellise Bell (Florence), forward Jenna Long (Meadville) defenders Makayla Martin (Brookhaven) and Riely Laird (Clinton), and goalkeeper Olivia Burnham return to add multi-game experience to the depth chart for the Lady Wolves in the 2022-23 season. Laird also finished last season tied for second-most assists with Ford and Dear with two.

The Lady Wolves will have a new experience for this upcoming season as the conference has eliminated divisional play and all teams will play each other with the top seven teams advancing to the state playoffs. “In our conference, any team can win on any given day and there are a lot of teams out there that are similar to us in that they won or lost a lot of one goal games,” stated Cosgrave. “I think this year with how we have strengthened our squad we are going to approach each game like it is a playoff game and at the end of the season we hope to have the results that will get us into the playoffs and make a push for the conference title.”

“Our preseason camp has consisted of a lot of team meetings outside of practices where we have talked to our team about positive self-talk and being mentally strong,” added Cosgrave. “We want our players to be able to understand how to respond when things get tough in those moments where things are going wrong, and your backs are against the wall and believe in themselves and the team to be able to overcome those moments.”

Cosgrave begins his third years as the Lady Wolves head coach and he is assisted by Patrick Ross also in his third year. The Lady Wolves kick off the season with back-to-back road games on Thursday, August 18 against Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis, Tennessee and Friday, August 19, against Dyersburg State in Covington, Tennessee. The Lady Wolves begin conference with a home contest on Tuesday, September 20, against Hinds at 5 p.m., at H.L. Stone Stadium.