HVA exciting offense, defense may stumble

Looking for a third straight trip to the Class AAA state tournament, Hardin Valley Academy girls soccer should be an exciting bunch when generating offense.

Defensive inexperience, bey-ond having one star player, could be a stumbling block.

“We’ve got a great attacking presence,” Nick Bradford, first-year HVA head coach, said. “Our offense, I think, will be pretty formidable with the way we move the ball and our finishing ability for sure.

“I think we’re going to bring a nice style. I think the girls are excited about the way we want to play,” he added. “Very high tempo, lots of pressure.

“We have a lot of talent.”

Junior forward Gwen Breslin and senior midfielders Paige Hewitt and Maggie Wilson are keys to generating offense.

Hewitt and Wilson “are very strong. They have a very good demeanor about them, how they go about dealing with other girls on the team,” Bradford said. “… They are obviously very self-motivated as well.

“Gwen is a dynamic attacking player,” Bradford added. “Great vision. A very aggressive

player going forward. And

she’s very coachable. I’d say she’s one of the more talented juniors in the area for sure.”

Sophomore forward Mack-enzie Smith “is stepping into a big role this year,” Bradford said.

Junior Kelsey Greene and senior Bailey Sipos also will play up top. Other forwards are sophomore Regan Ely and juniors Adisyn Beyer and Sydney Bailey.

“… I think our strength is going forward, for sure,” Hewitt said. “We have some really creative players.”

Junior midfielder Macy Lindsey “will be pretty key for us. She’s a very composed player. … A great passer of the ball,” Bradford said.

Junior defender Lainee Griffin “will be one of our returning starters in the back,” Bradford said. “She can play on the outside or she can play on the inside. She’s a very composed player. Very hard working … aware of her surroundings.

“But maybe her biggest asset is her speed,” Bradford added. “She’s one of the fastest girls around. … She shows her speed quite a bit on the outside.”

Otherwise, “We’re really young coming out of the back,” Hewitt, two-time All-Region 2-AAA honoree, said.

Smith added, “Since we lost two of our star players as center-backs, I think defense is one of our main things to focus on.”

Goalkeeper is sophomore Taylor Mauck.

Overall, “I think we have a bright season ahead of us,” Hewitt added.

With HVA’s recent success making it to Murfreesboro, “The challenge for this team is to not take that for granted, to make sure we battle whatever team we play,” Bradford said. “But most importantly in the district that we play [4-AAA], when it counts.”

About his new job, “I’m very humbled and happy to be at Hardin Valley Academy,” Bradford said.