Lady Bearcats prepared to come back stronger next season

Grass, Wilson, Morris, Uhl and Horne selected for post-season honors

TAYLOR COUNTY— Despite not yielding the season they had hoped for, the Grafton High School (GHS) Lady Bearcat soccer team still had several accomplishments to celebrate during both the regular and post-season. 

Throughout the season ,the Lady Bearcats tallied more than 40 goals on their opponents and claimed landslide 7-0 victories on the road against both Lewis County and Nicholas County High Schools. 

The Grafton ladies also earned notable shutout wins on the season over Robert C. Bryd (4-0), Lincoln High School (3-0) and Preston High (3-0). 

The team concluded the regular season with an overall record of 7-13, and while they had hoped for better, the final record simply does not represent the magnitude of talented athletes that make up the Lady Bearcat squad. 

Addie Tucker and Abigail Stewart tuned in solid performances for the Lady Bearcats all season long. 

As a forward, it was Tucker’s job to score goals, however she quickly became one of the of team’s best defenders with her speed, strength and aggression, overpowering her opponents.

“She plays hard and with determination.  She gives her team everything she has. She is fast, strong and aggressive in her defending and has excellent tackling skills,” said Lady Bearcat Head Coach Lorraine Isner. 

Stewart continued to show coachability and has grown as a player in both her skill and knowledge of the game. 

This season,  she made vital defensive stops for the Lady Bearcats, and Coach Isner revealed that next season, she will be a defensive key for her team. 

“Abigail is also who we will build our defense around next season,” she revealed. 

The season also saw Nicole Gile move from defender to goalkeeper, a courageous undertaking on her part. 

“It was a very aggressive and bold move on her part. But she wanted it, and I loved her desire and fearlessness in taking on that huge responsibility.  Every practice and every game, she got better. Next season she will be a force in the box,” Isner boasted.
In addition to these notable performances by the Lady Bearcats, during the season, five Grafton ladies stood out with their display of hustle, grit, teamwork, dedication, aggression and an overall skill in their respective positions that garnered the attention of those at the top of the conference, earning them post-season honors. 

GHS senior Brenna Wilson was selected to Second Team All-State, First Team All-Region and Second Team All-Conference. 

“Brenna had a great senior season. Every game she continued to bring her best.  Her skill and composure on the ball is beautiful.  She led our team in intercepts, and we could center our play on her because she was always where we needed her, and she is most deserving of recognition,” Isner shared. 

In addition to these honors, Wilson was also selected for the North-South All-Star game, which is a special opportunity for some of the best senior players in the state to finish out their high school careers on the turf. 

“We’ve had players selected every year, and I am very proud that Brenna will be representing the Lady Bearcats again,” Isner added. 

Joining Wilson in the selection for Second Team All-Conference is senior Payden Morris. 

Morris, who was also selected for Second Team All-Region Honors, led the Lady Bearcats from the center-mid position, one that she has owned for the last three years and was a physical player when it came to beating her defenders. 
“She has a great vision for seeing the game and is one of the best passers in the game. She is creative and smooth on the ball and has a flare for beating defenders one v one,” Isner reported. 

Also rounding out her final year as a Lady Bearcat is Kelly Grass. 

According to Coach Isner, Grass selflessly moved from the midfield and took on a center defensive back position to assist her team this season. 

“It was a great move for her and the team. She has excellent knowledge of the game and combined with her skill on the ball, she knew how to stop attacks and create counter attacks,” said Isner. “Kelly was second in leading our team in steals and intercepts.”

This impressive season-long performance by Grass earned her a selection for Second Team All-Region, as well. 

Following in the footsteps of her senior leaders, junior Elizabeth Uhl was also selected for Second Team All-Region Honors, for taking on her role as a Lady Bearcat utility player. 

Being the versatile player that she is, Uhl stepped up for her team when they were in need and played every position except for that of goalie. 

“Every time we needed a position filled; she was our go-to player,” Isner disclosed. “She played every position but goalkeeper, and she played them all very well. She is versatile, dynamic and aggressive. She challenges every opponent, and she led our team in steals. She loves the game and loves competing.” 

Isner added by saying that Uhl puts in an abundant amount of work in the off season, and each year, the improvement it has made to her game play is evident. 

Finishing up the post-season honors list for the Lady Bearcats is newcomer Hadley Horne. 

As just a freshman, in her first season suited up as a Lady Bearcat, she has already made quite the name for herself, as she led Grafton in goals, racking up 17 on the season. 

Not only was she an essential scorer for the Lady Bearcats, but her selfless play also led to teammate goals, as she also led the team in assists with ten. 

For her performance this season, Horne was selected Honorable Mention All-State, First Team All-Region and First Team All-Conference. 

“She is dynamic and fast and plays all out every minute she is on the field. What I love about Hadley is she plays with a fire, and she never stops competing. Whether it is practice or a game, she brings her best every time,” Isner voiced. 

While it may have been disappointing to have not advanced further in post-season play, the Lady Bearcats held their own, achieved wonderous personal accomplishments, they showed growth, accountability and sportsmanship that every coach wants to see, and they are prepared to come back stronger next season. 

“I wish I could talk about each Lady Bearcat. We have a lot of potential to build upon for next season. The sophomores and freshmen will have a huge impact, with four returning juniors to lead us,” commented Isner. 

Congratulations Lady Bearcats!

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