Danville girls look for more diverse offense

August 09, 2004|JILL ERWIN

The Danville girls have lost two-thirds of their scoring, including the school record holder for career goals, but the Admirals don't think their offense will struggle.

Mackenzie McAfee, Alex Meckes and Molly Pittman look to lead a balanced Danville soccer attack that will have to fill in for the graduated Krystal Jackson and Rosa Magana.

Jackson scored 24 goals last year and Magana six to account for 30 of Danville's 46 goals. But the Admirals said they feel confident their multi-headed attack will pay big dividends this year.

"It's good because there's no one person that is the best player on the team," said Pittman, a freshman. "We're all good and that helps. We can work together as a team and do better."


While no one seems sure exactly who the focal points of the new offense will be - first-year coach Mike Lauer said "those three will feature prominently for us, but we have others as well," - McAfee, Meckes and Pittman are ready to take on the challenge.

McAfee, a sophomore, played plenty of minutes for Danville last year as a freshman midfielder. She's the tallest of the three and has the strongest leg.

"Mackenzie is just strong and she barges through everybody and kicks the ball from half-field and scores," Pittman said.

But she's also left a mark on her teammates with her personality.

"Mac is just sweet," Meckes said. "I've never heard her say one mean thing in her life. She has energy and if someone tells her to do something, she does it. She never complains."

McAfee knows having a more diverse offense will help Danville, but she's also experienced enough to know that it's going to take time and practice to adjust to a balanced attack.

"I think it's going to be a good challenge," McAfee said. "Being a young person, I look to what Rosa and Krystal did last year and I learned a lot from them. I hope we, as a team, can put it all together and score goals.

"I think it will take a little time just playing with everybody, knowing what their strengths are and just communicating. I think it will start clicking together, though."

Pittman is the question mark, having played for the Bate Middle team last season. Now she must make the adjustment to high school soccer.

"Molly's little, but she's really aggressive," Meckes said. "Her and my sister (Maddie) are really good friends, so I know her more on a personal level. She's really nice, but also determined and self-disciplined."

"Molly has her own little personality and she's really devoted," McAfee said. "She really tries to fight between the defenders."

Pittman has played with McAfee before and knows Meckes well through her sister.

"We work together well," Pittman said. "Everyone is pretty much on the same level and no one really knows what we're going to pull out of the bag this year."

Meckes, a senior, is the passer of the bunch. She doesn't feel the need to score the goals or get the headlines, but she gets satisfaction out of getting the ball to others.

And her teammates appreciate it.

"Alex really looks up and passes," McAfee said. "She has an awesome foot and she does a good job."

"Alex, she just kind of surprises you," Pittman said. "She has the perfect passes and she's the one with all the assists and the pretty crosses."

Meckes is fine being known that way.

"I think passing is my game," Meckes said. "I usually play outside mid (fielder), so I don't usually get right up in front of the goal the way a forward like Molly would.

"Both Mac and Molly scored a lot during (Centre's) camp. Last year, I did have some scoring opportunities, but with them it's a lot easier to do that."

Lauer knows that having an experienced scorer like Jackson on his team would be a help, but he also gets inspiration from a the recent Euro 2004 tournament.

"We have to work as a team," Lauer said. "That's pretty cliche, but if you followed the European championships, Greece had 150-1 odds, but they won it. They had good players, not great players, but they played like a team. We have to try to emulate that and play like a team, using everybody's strengths and not just focusing on any one person."

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