Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 20, 2013

Henritz returns to run Lady Mavs soccer

LINDSIDE — The co-founder and driving force of James Monroe High School girls’ soccer is back on the pitch.

Howdy Henritz, one of two men who launched the program in 1996, was away from the program for the first time last year, but now he has returned and has been putting the Lady Mavericks through their preseason paces in anticipation of next week’s season start.

“It feels great,” he said during a break in the first day of practice on Aug. 5. “We’ve got a good batch of girls. All of them have played at sometime in their life.”

As with many small high schools, some of the Lady Mavs participate in sports other than soccer, which keeps them in shape. But not everything translates into the kind of movement necessary on the soccer field.

“A lot of the girls run during the year, but it’s not lateral stuff,” Henritz said. “We’re doing work that will strengthen their ankles.”

The girls have the ability to move the ball up and down the field, and the basic knowledge to understand where to be, especially in offensive mode.

“Our biggest challenge is finding a goalkeeper,” the coach said.

Laura Jane Dransfield played on last fall’s squad as a freshman.

“It was a learning experience last year,” she said. “This year I’m really excited, because I know what to do now.”

Putting the roster into perspective, she said, “I don’t see the seniors (from last year). We’re missing them. But we’ve got good freshmen coming in.”

She said that Henritz “has us doing a lot of drills to get us ready.”

“Howdy’s amazing,” she said. “He’s really there for all of us. He supports us in every way. He knows what he’s talking about.”

Assistant coach Richard Franklin said about Henritz, “He’s a great guy. The girls love him.”

The Mavericks start their season on Tuesday, Aug. 27, hosting Oak Hill at 5 p.m.

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com

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