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Replacing a player like Maddie Damm is never easy.
If a team was ever prepared to absorb such a hit though, it might this seasonâ€™s North Kingstown girls soccer team.
Damm â€“ who is entering her freshman year playing soccer at Syracuse University â€“ was invaluable for the Skippers in the midfield last fall but with 10 seniors and five juniors suiting up for NK this season North should have enough collectively to remain very competitive in Division I.
â€śMaddie had four really solid years with the program. We had lot of good complimentary players and itâ€™s something that weâ€™re definitely going to have to overcome but weâ€™re solid right across the board,â€ť NK coach Randy Jones says.
â€śIâ€™ve got 10 midfielders so I donâ€™t see any problems overcoming it. Weâ€™ll miss her but I think the girls in the midfield know what they have to do.â€ť
Senior captain Finley Kincaid will lead a strong group of midfielders this season that includes juniors Amanda Farnsworth, Sarah Andrews and senior Libby Flavin â€“ among others â€“ but one thing that could make the Skippers really special this season is their distribution of leadership throughout the field.
Northâ€™s four captains â€“ seniors Morgan McBrier, Kayla Pelletier, Savannah Jones and Kincaid â€“ play goal, defense, striker and midfield, respectively, giving NK a leader to look to at every turn.
â€śIt all works,â€ť Randy Jones says. â€śMorganâ€™s still in net, Savannahâ€™s up in the forward position, Kaylaâ€™s one of the best around and Finleyâ€™s in the midfield. They all really have their roles within those groups.â€ť
Look for Savannah Jones to be one of the stateâ€™s top point scorers this season not only scoring goals but setting them up as sheâ€™ll be flanked by a talented group that includes senior Emma Fuller, sophomore Alexis Brayman and junior Ansley Ostiguy.
As a captain last season youâ€™re not going to find too many defenders around better than Pelletier and this season she will be joined in the back line by sophomores Shannon Coleman, Sienna Mobley and senior Isabella Tarro.
At this point in the fall thereâ€™s still plenty of time for the Skippersâ€™ lineup to change though, particularly with the amount of depth the team has this season.
â€śSo far things are going great. The preseason has been awesome,â€ť Jones says. â€śThe first week went really well, the girls are fit and healthy.
â€śâ€¦We had 54 girls come out for the program so we have two solid squads between the varsity and JV. Weâ€™ve got a lot of veterans on the varsity that spent quite a bit of time between JV and varsity [last year].â€ť
Given the amount of front line talent and depth the Skippers have this season this could be a very special year for NK.
â€śBarring any major injuries I think we have a shot at getting up into the final four,â€ť Jones says. â€śThat senior class is really strong, the junior class has been with them for three years and I think itâ€™s going to be a really good year for them.â€ť
North Kingstown will begin the Injury Fund portion of its preseason schedule today at 6 p.m. with games against Westerly and North Smithfield at North Smithfield High School.
The regular season is slated to being Thursday, Sept. 5 at 3:30 p.m. for the Skippers with a trip to Wakefield to take on Prout.