Chipman girls’ soccer team breaks school record

Chipman's girls' soccer "A-team" went 10-1 this season. They are: Back row, from left,  Abby Haney, Maggie Lodge, Bailey Dean, Riley Wood, Lacy Bayley, Jessica Boyer, Alexis Wright and Julianna Tyndall. Front, from left, Elle Wood, August Warren, Rachel Seeney, coach Andy West, Alex Lewis, Alexa McCracken and Maci Carter. The players in the back row have been together on the team sixth through eighth grades. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Chipman’s girls’ soccer “A-team” went 10-1 this season. They are: Back row, from left, Abby Haney, Maggie Lodge, Bailey Dean, Riley Wood, Lacy Bayley, Jessica Boyer, Alexis Wright and Julianna Tyndall.
Front, from left, Elle Wood, August Warren, Rachel Seeney, coach Andy West, Alex Lewis, Alexa McCracken and Maci Carter.
The players in the back row have been together on the team sixth through eighth grades. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

HARRINGTON — Winning is secondary in middle school sports.

But it’s still a lot of fun.

W.T. Chipman’s girls’ soccer ‘A-team’ experienced that joy a school record 10 times this season, and for the young Spartans getting there was quite a ride.

“We’ve grown together as a team and we just keep getting better,” said eighth-grader Lacy Bayley prior to the team’s ninth win of the season, 4-1 versus Millsboro Middle School. “At practice we have to be serious but we also have fun.”

Success, although recent, isn’t new to the Chipman soccer program. This year’s record-setting win total broke the previous mark of eight, which was accomplished by the 2013 team that now has many members playing for the Lake Forest varsity squad.

“Our program keeps improving, but this particular group has been special,” said first-year head coach Andy West, who spent the previous four seasons as an assistant coach within the middle school program. “Two years ago the core group won every game as sixth-graders when they played on the ‘B-team’ and never allowed a goal.”

Rachel Seeny (left) led Chipman in scoring this season. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Rachel Seeney (left) led Chipman in scoring this season. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Part of the success Chipman, along with Lake Forest, has seen in girls’ soccer can be attributed to the Harrington Parks & Recreation youth program.

Not only has the program helped interest in the sport grow – West said Chipman had more than 50 girls try out for its two teams this spring – but also it gives the athletes more time on the pitch working together.

“A lot of them played rec soccer growing up , and they’ve had this special bond all along,” West said, adding that many of his players also play field hockey together. “It’s two-sport team spirit that they bring together.”

Because the team already had good chemistry, it was able to work on becoming better fundamentally throughout the season.

“I am trying my hardest to make sure they understand two things, the difference between attack and defense up and down the field,” he said. “If our team has the ball, we’re attacking all the way down the field and creating turnovers then transitioning.

“The good thing about Lake Forest players has always been they’re gritty. They play hard from start to finish, and we’ve been able to take that spirit of a somewhat underdog and build off it. And now what we’re doing is working on their soccer skills.”

Those skills have shown through in all 11 of Chipman’s games this season, including its only loss, which came 3-1 to Caesar Rodney’s Postlewait Middle School. While eight-grader Rachel Seeney led the team in scoring, its entire roster recorded at least a goal or an assist this season.

Most of the eighth-graders will continue with the sport next spring as part of the Lake Forest High teams. And the success they’ve seen in junior high, which includes handing Selbyville Middle School (Indian River High) its only loss this season, has the girls confident as they graduate to the next level.

“Watching (Lake Forest) play, it’s fun to see how they’ve grown and how good they’ve become with the same coaches,” eighth-grader Maggie Lodge said.

Chipman's girls' soccer team won its ninth game of the season, 4-1, over Millsboro. The victory broke the school record of eight set in 2013. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

Chipman’s girls’ soccer team won its ninth game of the season, 4-1, over Millsboro. The victory broke the school record of eight set in 2013. (The Journal/Jeff Mitchell)

“Seeing the girls on varsity now kind of grow and succeed through soccer, I know I have the ability to grow as well,” Bayley added. “So I hope to be at the same place as them.”

Members of the 2015 W.T. Chipman girls’ soccer team are: eighth-graders Alexis Wright, Jessica Boyer, Rachel Seeney, Julianna Tyndall, Alex Lewis, Abby Haney, Maggie Lodge, Lacy Bayley, Bailey Dean and Riley Wood; seventh-graders Elle Wood, Alexa McCracken, August Warren and Maci Carter.

Editor’s note: Chipman’s continued success looks fairly certain as well. The school’s “B-team,” comprised of several sixth- and seventh-graders, went 11-0 this season.

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