Fall Sports Preview

2017

Goldsboro News Argus - Fall Sports Preview

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Thursday, August 17, 2017 Goldsboro News-Argus — 19 Continued from 5 prised to see.They've got great attitudes.They want to be better." Keep that eraser handy,though. Moreso than in previous sea- sons,Renfrow has been a teacher in practice this fall.She's empha- sized transition,court position on offense and defense and finding the best option off the pass — whether it's either a serve receive or a ball dug up off of a kill attempt by the opponent. And defense has been the Dogs' calling card. The 2014 team covered the floor like a blanket and compiled an eye-popping 568 digs.Alleghany exploited Princeton's shaky defense in the 2015 state final. Even a year ago,the defense expe- rienced some tremors as opposing teams learned to stretch the floor which created scoring opportuni- ties. Renfrow describes this year's 'D' as "solid." That could be the crucial prima- ry component in early-season play as Princeton works to develop chemistry on offense.The tradi- tion-rich Dogs anticipate battling for the conference title,which cur- rently belongs to Lakewood. "I think no matter what we're given at the beginning of the sea- son,we can make ourselves con- tend for the conference title,no matter what,"Renfrow said."I feel like our girls have the work ethic and the mindset that they'll push themselves to contend every sea- son no matter what we're given. "Absolutely,I feel like we're defi- nitely a contender." NOTE:Princeton has claimed four of the last six Carolina regu- lar-season titles since 2011 and a league-leading 12 overall.The Dogs' first championship came in 1992. Vibes FOOTBALL • Third-year head coach Travis Gaster has plenty of holes to fill — just six starters return off last year's team that finished tri- champions with Lakewood and North Duplin in Carolina 1-A Conference play. Expect Adam Crocker to be a vocal and energetic team leader as the Bulldogs attempt to find an identity on offense after losing top rusher Earl Gibson Jr.,who was the 2016 News-Argus All-Area Offensive- Player-of-the-Year. BOYS' SOCCER • The Bulldogs did not field a team last season,but return to the pitch in 2017. Thomas Pilkington is the new head coach. According to Maxpreps,PHS will play a conference-heavy schedule that begins Aug. 31 against Hobbton. GIRLS' TENNIS • Christy Klein continues to build a pro- gram that filed a 7-7 worksheet last season. Keep an eye on Mackenzie Evans,who ended up 8-4 in singles and 7-2 with doubles part- ner Emily Shallington. Jasmine Rubio and Cailee Vetrano,who are seniors this season, were 7-2 in doubles action in 2016. CROSS COUNTRY • Austin Sullivan and Brent Hurst have graduated,and now run for NCAA Division II powerhouse University of Mount Olive. That leaves head coach Mark McLamb searching for a new boys' leader. The veteran head coach did not have any girls participate in cross country in 2016,but hopes that some of his indoor/outdoor track and field run- ners will decide to run this fall. GIRLS' GOLF • Senior Casey Mitchell and junior Gabby Adams are back for another season on the links. Mitchell qualified for the NCHSAA 1- A/2-A state meet in 2016. Adams started the year with no playing experience and wound up earning the "Most Improved" Award from head coach Adam Peedin during the school's athletic awards banquet. "I hope she will continue to grow into a pretty good golfer," said Peedin,who hopes to find at least two more players when school begins. FALLSPORTSOUTLOOKS Continued from 10 months,the sophomore visit- ed the University of Mount Olive campus,where she absorbed instruction from Trojan head coach Kevin Coghill —a practice that is already exhibiting dividends. "I'm really seeing her game change,"the coach noted."It's not so much about funda- mentals… (but) being able to place the ball,getting more power,and working on a kick-serve —more advanced stuff,for sure." And that is exactly what the Lady Gators will need this fall,as they embark on life in the newfangled East Central 2-A conference — whose tennis acumen is,in large part,a mystery.Not that Haggerty and Co.— who will also bring fresh- men Natalie Slye and Tiffany Taylor into the program's fold —will be paying much attention to what their oppo- nents are doing,however. "They're excited about the change,but at the same time,they're a little ner- vous,"Haggerty said."My thinking is,we're going through this change… and it's almost like,I think we need to focus on ourselves, and not worry so much about everybody else." Which they will do, assuredly,with greater expe- rience. Potential FALLSPORTSOUTLOOKS FOOTBALL • From air raid to ground charge to a new business schedule. Such is the transformation endured this fall by the Spring Creek varsity football team,who has made wholesale changes at every conceivable turn. Senior Collion Kittrell will direct matters under center and,along with interim head coach Daniel Robinson, work to install a shifty,high-octane ground game in hopes of making the Gators competitive in an absolutely loaded Eastern Carolina 2-A confer- ence — one many pundits have dubbed the league of death. Show and prove,Gators. VOLLEYBALL • Tough sledding,albeit with a twist. That is the scenario faced by first- year head coach Lee Avery,whose green-and-blue volleyball outfit seeks to improve on an 8-12 campaign last fall. Returning for SC are Fernanda Martinez,Madison Sullivan and Kayla Herring — all tough,dual-sport ath- letes that can help direct traffic in a new league (East Central 2-A) that posted a 79-56-1 overall mark a sea- son ago,and that had a pair of 22-win teams. Into the fire SC goes,but not with- out talent. BOYS' SOCCER • Gustavo Avalos. Local futbol enthuisasts from all walks would be wise to remember his name,because it will likely be hailed often this fall at "The Swamp." Last season,the junior was simply other-worldly,logging 37 goals on 63 attempts — a conversion rate of 59 percent,for those scoring at home. Additionally,head coach Mario Aguilar returns 13 players from his skilled,savvy 2016 roster — a troupe that registered 16 wins and advanced to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A play- offs. News-Argus file photo Spring Creek has won four Carolina 1-A Conference titles, but has experienced a recent drought. Head coach Donna Haggerty thinks that skid can end this season as an experienced — and more fundamentally-sound — team takes the courts. Gustavo Avalos notched 37 goals and dished out 10 assists (84 total points) during the 2016 season. The Gators logged 16 wins and were eliminated by Wallace-Rose Hill in the playoffs. News-Argus file photo

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