HURRICANE — Hurricane girls soccer coach Shelly Young said she’d like to see sophomore Bailey Fisher become more vocal this season.
For the soft-spoken Fisher, that’s still quite a work in progress, but Young is confident that the 10th grader will attack it with the same work ethic she has shown already throughout her career.
Paired with outstanding talent, Fisher burst onto the statewide scene a year ago, scoring all four of her team’s Class AAA state tournament goals in regulation and adding a penalty kick in the title game as the Redskins won the first state championship in program history.
Fisher racked up 36 goals prior to the state tournament, finishing second in the Kanawha Valley scoring race behind South Charleston’s Maggie Britt.
But it isn’t necessarily the number of goals that show what kind of player Fisher is, it’s the manner in which she scores them. Dangerous from seemingly anywhere on the field, her precision and kicking power along with her athleticism have set her apart.
“It’s the kind of goals she scores and the fact that she scored five goals in the state tournament,” Young said. “She scores against the best defenses in the state. She’s a quality player and she’s definitely an offensive powerhouse. She brings a lot to our team as far as being an example of hard work. She was born with soccer talent but she’s worked really hard to hone it and become the player that she is.”
Last season was a whirlwind with Fisher in the eye of it as the Redskins ended a 13-year drought from the state tournament and won it all despite playing in arguably the toughest region in the state with 2017 champion Cabell Midland and dangerous Ripley and Parkersburg South squads.
“We’ve always wanted to win states whenever we started,” Fisher said. “We just worked as a team.”
The Redskins return six other starters, bringing the bulk of the roster back. Included in that mix is junior goalkeeper Olivia Bird and seniors Braelynn Pritt and Dani Ray.
Young also lauded her group of six freshmen, saying last season’s success has helped bring a refreshed sense of motivation to her program.
“I think all of the returning girls that started last year look like stronger players to me,” Young said. “I feel like the girls that were here last year and got a taste of that kind of success definitely came back willing to work really hard and try to repeat that and the younger players that watched it in eighth grade, I think they want to be a part of it. It kind of creates that culture. The returning girls know how hard they had to work — they worked incredibly hard for that. They know what it takes and they’re willing to take the young players under their wings and make them a part of that culture of hard work and that’s what you need.”
Young said Fisher has embodied that since stepping foot on campus last fall. This summer, she was a part of Ohio Premier’s 15-and-under Elite Club National League team, one that made the national quarterfinals and earned a trip to San Diego. In participating, Fisher had to commute to Columbus, Ohio, three or four times a week, but saw some of the country’s best competition along the way.
“We made it in the top eight in the nation,” Fisher said. “It was cool to see all of the college coaches all along the field watching us and recruiting.”
There figure to be plenty more as long as Fisher can keep improving on her level of play and, as a byproduct, help the Redskins continue to strive for more of their recently found championship-winning success. With their opening game looming on Aug. 24 at Greenbrier East, it seems to be all systems go for Fisher and her teammates.
“We look pretty strong, I’m real happy,” Young said. “They all look like they have worked hard in the offseason and have developed their game. And we have a nice, big freshman class coming in that is pretty athletic and talented and we’ll have to see where they fit in. And we have returning girls that didn’t start that have improved and worked hard.”
“If we train hard and work hard I think we can make it again,” Fisher said.