Jonathan Law girls’ soccer coach Alicia Francisco took over the program a year ago when the Lady Lawmen went 8-8-0 and advanced in the Class L state tournament before losing 2-1 on penalty kicks to eventual champion Guilford.
Now Francisco and her team are facing the fallout from COVID-19.
“It’s crazy stuff,” Francisco said. “The key for me is that the players get to know each other. They need to bond together, get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. With the virus, they practiced separately (cohorts of 10) to start the season. Especially this season, because we lost a lot of strong seniors last year, we have big holes to fill in the lineup and we needed to get together quickly.”
Francisco believes the COVID-19 cloud is still there.
“We are in between (in numbers out). We have a lot of JV players, and other girls just starting. We had quite a few freshmen come out,” she said. “The first practice that we had everyone was happy to see each other. But because everything is up in the air with the pandemic, the girls are taking it one game at a time.”
Alexis Voytek, Andriana Bruno and Shelby Green will captain the team.
“Our captains lead by example, Francisco said. “Bruno and Voytek are senior midfielders. Alexis has a knack of being in the right spot at the right time. Andriana is a workhorse, always giving 100 percent. Shelby is a junior and will control the center of the field for us this year. Avery Frank will be a big contributor on defense. Ashley Shaw is moving up from defense to play center-mid. She and Shelby Green work well off each other to impact a game. Sabrina Lawless is a sophomore goalkeeper. I’m happy she got to learn from Jill (Hall) last season. I can see she has made strides coming into this year.”
Francisco said: “I’m happy we have the NFHS program. I think a lot of team we play have it as well, so parents will be able to watch more than home games”