Elizabeth Six, Braxton County High School
Braxton County High School sophomore Baylea Woodward kicks the soccer ball toward the goal as Coach Justin Whitford looks on. Woodward is one of 16 players on the school's first girls soccer team.
Braxton County girls soccer team captain Alyssa Riffle (background) smiles in satisfaction as Baylea Woodward performs a successful trap of the ball at practice.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With schools around the state now back in session, fall sports are underway. For some Braxton County High School students, this presents new opportunities.Baylea Woodward is a sophomore at Braxton County High School, and she is one of the 16 lucky girls that gets to play in the first ever season of girls soccer at the high school.Woodward has been playing soccer for six years in Braxton County's recreational soccer league. Even though she has played every position in the recreational league, she will serve as a defender on the Lady Eagles soccer team.Coach Justin Whitford has a positive mindset for Woodward and her teammates.
"I have only worked with the team for a little over a week, but I think we have a good team," said Whitford, when interviewed in mid-August. "From what I have seen, Baylea Woodward will be a great defender and player."Woodward believes the soccer team is a "new and great way to get everybody in shape and become healthier.""Our high school students will now have a way to get in better shape and have fun," she said. "Soccer is very different from basketball, baseball and track. You learn how to use your feet to control a ball instead of your hands like most sports."This season's team consists of 16 girls ages 13-16. All of them have played the past few years in the county's recreational league.The team members include freshmen Leslee Coffman, Hannah Dittman, Quinn Hopen, Kendra Houghton, Ruby Kniceley, Mallory Nicholson, Caitylnn Simms and Hollis Skidmore. The sophomores are Jessica Beckett, Makila Carr, Laurel Lloyd, Caroline Nicholas, Kearstin Stancati and Woodward. There are only two juniors this season -- Kylie James and Alyssa Riffle -- and there are no seniors. Lloyd and Riffle are the team captains. Woodward and her teammates are looking forward to a great first season. Win or lose, Woodward said she'll enjoy the opportunity soccer will bring to Braxton County High School. She hopes to meet new people who share the same passion for soccer as she and her teammates do.