Preview: Heritage Pride Gear Up for Wintry Start to the Spring Season

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Heritage High School senior Christina Carlston hopes to help first year head coach Holly King ease into the Pride's 2015 schedule.

Heritage High School senior Christina Carlston hopes to help first year head coach Holly King ease into the Pride’s 2015 schedule.

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By Spencer DuPuis

LoCoSports Journalist

Leesburg (March 17, 2015) — As Heritage High School starts another spring season, here is how each sport is shaping up.

Pride baseball looks to continue to be a factor in Conference 21

Heritage High School senior Jack Howard hopes to rally his young team to a VHSL 4A North region bid this spring. Photo by Jana Fuhrmann.

Heritage High School senior Jack Howard hopes to rally his young team to a VHSL 4A North region bid this spring. Photo by Jana Fuhrmann.

The baseball team is coming off a great season, where they finished 12-7 overall. Although they graduated two big time seniors, they are bringing back a big core of players that have experience at the varsity level.

They are looking for shortstop Jack Howard to anchor the infield and for Ben Taylor to do the same in the outfield. Both players should be huge pieces of their offense as well.  Junior Chad Koehler will be leaned on in his third year as the starting catcher.  In addition to those three, Ryan Studebaker will lead them on the mound as he is the leading returner in innings pitched.

“Our expectations remain high. We expect to compete for the Dulles District title and the Conference 21 title and a bid to the VHSL 4A North region tournament,” baseball head coach Ryan Price said. “Our biggest challenge will be replacing a lot of hits and runs we graduated last year.  We must establish a new offensive identity to support our pitchers.”

Pride softball looks to build off a great season last year

Meanwhile, the softball team is coming off a Conference 21 semifinal loss to Virginia State powerhouse Woodgrove High School — even getting to the semifinal was a big accomplishment for a program that had a new coach and little varsity experience. They are looking to have all the players be leaders at one point or another, but need captains Kaly Winslow and Courtney Shea to step up throughout the year.

“My expectations are to continue building on the successes of last year,” softball head coach John Dugger said. “Our biggest challenges are yet to be determined.  I would like to get outside on the dirt a lot more before I answer that.”

Pride boys soccer team looks to compete at a high level this season

The boys soccer team has great confidence for this season after an average season last year, finishing off the regular season with a 7-8-1 overall record with an early exit in the Conference 21 tournament. However, last season the Pride was plagued with injuries: at one point they had five players injured. They will look to their five returning seniors as leaders this year: Jonathan Martinez, Tyler Frank, Sean Shu, Will Giessler and TJ Sample.

“As far as expectations are concerned, we have a lot of individual talent on the team this year,” boys soccer head coach Betsy Munson said. “So the expectations are high if we can work hard and utilize all of our talent.  [Our] biggest challenge this year is to avoid injuries.”

Pride girls soccer team looks to have a solid season under first-year head coach Holly King

After taking a two-year hiatus from the Pride soccer team, Heritage High School senior Zoe Foxhall will return to the varsity pitch in hopes of continuing the Pride's recent success.

After taking a two-year hiatus from the Pride soccer team, Heritage High School senior Zoe Foxhall will return to the varsity pitch in hopes of continuing the Pride’s recent success.

The girls soccer team is looking to continue its success over the past half decade under new head coach Holly King. King — who is a graduate of Broad Run High School — was an All-American and Academic All-American at the University of Florida in 2012.

Last spring, Heritage finished the regular season with an 11-9-1 overall record and 8-3-1 finish in the Dulles District, with an appearance in a VHSL 4A North region semifinal.

The Pride are expecting their leadership core to be their four seniors: Christina Carlston, Zoe Foxhall, Amanda Philip and Taylor Zelman, but the team also knows that there is no hierarchy and that any girl from any grade level can lead on or off the field.

“I am a new coach, and I have no idea what the talent is like in our district, but I have high expectations for this team,” King said. “ We have a lot of talent across all grade levels which balances out the team very nicely. The chemistry on and off the field is already starting to build, which is something as a coaching staff we find very important. They set goals in the beginning of the season, and as a team, we are expecting to meet them. The biggest challenge is going to be finding the right combination of girls on the field. I have a lot of ideas of lineups and personnel, and it is just going to take some time to find the right fit.”

Pride boys lacrosse team looks to rebound from last season with veteran leadership

Veteran boys lacrosse coach Jason "Choppy" Burke will continue to teach his young Heritage High School varsity team lacrosse and life lessons in 2015.

Veteran boys lacrosse coach Jason “Choppy” Burke will continue to teach his young Heritage High School varsity team lacrosse and life lessons in 2015.

Last season, the boys lacrosse team finished the regular season 5-7 overall and 2-5 in the Dulles District. This spring, Heritage is expecting Tyler Daily, Ryan Eudy, Noah Bigler and Jacob Laura to lead the team, but there are many other athletes who will add their role as leader to their lacrosse resume.

“[I expect] veteran leadership to help the talented youth embrace the challenge of Conference 21,” boys lacrosse head coach Jason “Choppy” Burke said. “Our biggest challenge this season will be the weather! We need spring to stay around. The more time outside on a field the better we will get.”

Pride girls lacrosse team looks to continue to grow under second-year head coach Tim Greening

Last season, the Pride girls lacrosse team finished the regular season 1-13 overall and 1-7 in the Dulles District. This year the team is very young as 12 of the 16 team members are freshmen which will be both a challenge and an opportunity for the team.

Heritage is looking for their two returning juniors Esther Beauchemin and Cayley McGuire to step up. McGuire will play a key role on the team, as she is taking on a position that is new to her: goalie. The freshman class has some very experienced and talented lacrosse players including: Kaitlyn Hardin, Lila Greening, Lauren Beal, Morgan Duckett and Jillian Marsteller.

“Our biggest challenge this season is without a doubt dealing with a tragic situation that emerged just two days before the first day of the season. On that dark day our goalie, Elizabeth Manser, was diagnosed with leukemia. This devastating tragedy shocked all of us, but also served to rally the team together to help Elizabeth fight for her life,” girls lacrosse head coach Tim Greening said. “She has already been through one round of chemotherapy and has used her positive attitude, mental toughness and supportive family and team to get through it. We are dedicating our season to her, and she will remain in goal with us every game as we plan to tie an orange ribbon in her honor in our goal. We will defend that goal with all of our heart and pride. We ask for the Heritage community’s support as well. We will be planning several big events this season to help raise money and awareness to the cause.”

Pride boys tennis team looks to compete well in the conference this season

The boys tennis team is looking to compete this season with new head coach Allison Smith. The Pride have a great group of returning players and feel that they have the potential to be one of the top teams in Conference 21. Alex Whitehouse and Teja Adusumilli are expected to be the team leaders this season.

“We do have several hurdles to overcome,” Smith said. “So far our biggest challenge, that has also plagued the [rest]of the county, has been weather allowing us opportunity to get out on the courts for a good amount of time.”

Spencer DuPuis is a junior at Heritage High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.

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