With 17 goals and 14 assists, Kaylee Ferguson has been equally adept at putting the ball in the back of the net and setting up her teammates for scores. Behind her consistent play, Manchester has rolled to an 11-3-1 record and a No. 6 ranking in the Ohio State Soccer Coaches Association poll.
Senior forward Kaylee Ferguson has been an equal opportunity offensive weapon for the Manchester girls soccer team this season.
And the Panthers have been virtually unstoppable because of it.
With 17 goals and 14 assists, Ferguson has been equally adept at putting the ball in the back of the net and setting up her teammates for scores. Behind her consistent play, Manchester has rolled to an 11-3-1 record and a No. 6 ranking in the Ohio State Soccer Coaches Association poll.
For Manchester coach Eddie Kissner, Ferguson's success is the result of her diligent preparations for the season.
"Kaylee worked very hard in the off season on her shooting and her ability to get shots off in tight spaces," Kissner said. "She is a very intense player with a strong desire to do whatever it takes to make the team successful."
Ferguson's impact on Manchester's season started early. Through six games, she had nearly half (13-of-27) of the team's goals. She tallied a hat trick and an assist to account for four of the Panthers' five scores in a 5-0 win against Northwest in the first week of the season. Her scoring pace has barely slowed since.
With her speed, she has shown an ability to blow past defenders and, when an opportunity presents itself, Ferguson possesses the dexterity to shoot with either foot.
Beyond her penchant for scoring, Kissner also noted the impact she has had on her younger teammates."
“Kaylee’s intensity and motivation has definitely brought out the best in her teammates," Kissner said. "When we have needed a big goal to either get back the momentum, Kaylee has delivered either finishing or setting up other players to get the important goal."
Opponents have marked Ferguson all season long, opening up scoring chances for her teammates. The focus on stopping her has allowed players such as senior Karley Dougherty, sophomore Aubrey Podnar and freshman Michaela Schaber to find open space and score. Schaber and the rest of a talented freshman class has benefited from the leadership Ferguson and Dougherty have provided and the resulting mix of veterans and newcomers allowed the Panthers to net the No. 1 seed in the Brunswick Division III district tournament.
Their chances to advance deep into postseason will hinge on both their scoring prowess and continued solid play from the back end of their defense, anchored by senior goalkeeper Missy Kepnes and defenders Sarah Steurer, Brittni Porter and Grace Boss. Still, it is the challenge of having to stop the diminutive leader of the Manchester offense that will likely have opposing coaches reaching for their antacid and shaking their head.
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