The Highlanders are looking to develop this year. One reason is that there is just one senior in the starting lineup. But another is the delayed and shortened season itself. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, what is normally a winter sport at Piedmont will be held this spring in a six-week season.
There are no North Coast Section playoffs to point to. So goals are going to be set on a game-to-game basis, according to coach Dan Chubbock.
“We haven’t talked about any numbers in terms of winning games,” Chubbock said.
For example, in the team’s opener – a 1-0 win at Arroyo on April 29 – Chubbock said the goal was simple: Win the game.
“A big part of it is how can we develop this team as much as possible,” he said of the short season. “The way the coaches and I look at it, it’s an extended preseason for next year.”
“I don’t know if there will be an official league winner. We’ve got objectives to aim for. The biggest objective is getting through the season and getting the girls experience.”
Abby Gallagher is the lone senior, lining up at fullback. Juniors Nina Goldberg and Sophie Allen-Goix play at center back, and both are captains.
There are several key new players on varsity as well. Junior Zenobia Pellissier Lloyd scored the game’s lone goal against Arroyo in the 1-0 victory. Pellissier Lloyd has been on junior varsity for two years.
“That extra year of JV last year, I think really benefited her,” Chubbock said. He added that she is an exciting player and will be one the Highlanders count on to finish. Midfielders Zoe Wolfers and Emily Fitzgerald will be central to the offense as well.
Sophomore Morgan Hunt is back in goal.
First years expected to contribute include Hailey Marshburn, a midfielder, and Lola Biehn, a fullback.
“I think the big strength is going to be the attitude,” Chubbock said. “It’s a team that seems to all love soccer and loves playing. If we can keep that all the way through I think that’s going to be the strength this year. If our first defeat comes, its going to be how we face that, how we deal with that.”
“This season I think its going to be more maintaining that level of intensity.”
Ten seniors were on the roster in 2019-20, when the Highlanders were eliminated in the NCS Division 4 semifinals.