There are a lot of eyes on the Beverly High girls soccer team this fall.
With five returning Northeastern Conference all-stars, it’s easy to see why.
The Panthers, winners of the Division 1 North title a year ago and moving to Division 2 this fall after the state’s realignment, have the skill, athletic ability and experience to be one of the top squads not just on the North Shore, but in Eastern Mass., this season.
“It’s great to be in the position that we’re in,” said coach Kristin Simpson, beginning her 10th season coaching her alma mater. “Last year we did so well in part because we didn’t have any pressure or expectations put on us. We have the talent to go far and do well, and we have to make sure mentally we’re prepared game-in and game-out this year.”
Beverly should be very strong in the front and back ends. Senior Caitlin Harty, a Holy Cross commit, led the state with 50 goals a year ago and is already BHS’ all-time leader with 90 career goals and 119 points. Junior Eva Gourdeau, committed to Syracuse, is her running mate at the other forward spot; she led the area in assists last season with 19.
“We’ve been calling them ‘Key-va’ in the preseason. Instead of having to say ‘Good job Caitlin’ and ‘Good job Eva’ all the time, the whole team’s been yelling ‘Key-va,” Simpson joked.
“They’re always doing things together. They’re so soccer smart, and so technically good, that as they get back into the rhythm of playing together we’re seeing good things.”
Two-year captain Diandra Crowley, a senior, leads the defense. Junior Rose Terner, senior Faith Piotrowski and junior Sophie Claus could fill out the backline, though the Panthers are still mulling their formation and how many defensive mids they’ll deploy.