Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 12, 2014

Semifinal Friday

G-Girls to face six-time defending state champions

BLUEFIELD, Va. — “Here we are. This was the hope but not the expectation. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Graham girls soccer. We had a great freshman class come in, we had three returning starters and we spent the first few weeks in the gym,” said GHS girls soccer coach Hank Furry.

“I’m really happy where we are. This is big-time soccer. We’re going to the state and for us to do it two times in five years, all of a sudden, ‘Watch out for this little-bitty school named Graham down here. They play some pretty good soccer too.’”

The Graham G-Girls will take on George Mason this morning at 11:00 in the Virginia Group 2A semifinals in Salem. Furry talked about the opponent.

“They are the six-time defending state champions,” Furry said. “They are a really , really great squad. Their program is anchored by girls that play travel soccer and play soccer nine to 12 months out of the year.”

The G-Girls, unfortunately will be playing without two of their key players. Senior midfielder Morgan Whisman had an appendectomy earlier this week and will not play. Goalkeeper Christina Mounzer is out of the country on family matters, having also missed the regional final against Radford. McKenzie Meade played in goal for the G-Girls and players will be rotated to fill Whisman’s spot. Furry talked about not having his senior leading scorer and what Graham will do to fill the void.

“That’s going to hurt big from the standpoint of her (Whisman’s) goal productivity, but also her on-field leadership. We run our offense through her a lot. You always plan for something like that and we’re going to change our set,” Furry explained. “I don’t think we’re going to go down there with the attitude that we’re going to sit back and try to minimize the damage. We’re really going to try to go down there and force the action toward them. I’m going to play a lot of kids forward.”

Furry is turning to a pair of freshmen to fill the shoes vacated by Whisman.

“Caroline Kammer, she is going to have to step into that attacking center-mid position. That’s typically where we play Morgan. Caroline Wilkinson she’ll hopefully be giving us some good scoring opportunities because it will take them (George Mason) a while to adjust,” Furry said. “They haven’t seen us play, we haven’t seen them play so hopefully they don’t know how fast we are.”

Furry believes if the G-Girls can get a lead they can then take up a more defensive position.

“One thing in soccer is skill in the end will win out over athleticism and speed. You put 10 girls on the field that can basically spread you out, across the field and don the field,  and you don’t have a defense that understands how to clog the passing lanes and how to counter that, you can be successful,” Furry pointed out.

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. with the winner advancing to Saturday’s state title game.

— Contact Bob Redd at bredd@bdtonline.com, Twitter @bdtredd

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