Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Young talent strives to keep Newsome soccer at top of its game

LITHIA — Taylor McNeff remembers standing with a friend on the metal bleachers, a seventh-grader swept up in the frenzied atmosphere of a packed stadium witnessing a classic between nationally ranked teams.

Three years ago, the Newsome girls soccer team waltzed through the regular season undefeated. The Wolves won two district and two region playoff matches by a combined 30-0 score, easily advancing to a region final showdown at home against George Jenkins.

Newsome, ranked No. 4 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50, opened up a 2-0 lead on the third-ranked Eagles and held on for a 2-1 victory that sent the Wolves to the state semifinals for the second time in school history.

"Watching that game, to see how much they wanted it and how hard they worked to get there definitely made me really excited to come and be a part of the team," McNeff said.

Karli Gutsche was there too, her older sister Karina a standout center-midfielder for a Wolves team that finished the 2010-11 season as Class 5A state runnerup, the highest achievement in the program's short lifetime.

"Seeing them go to states makes me want to get there so bad," Karli said. "I think we can make it. I think we can get that far."

Karli Gutsche, McNeff and her young teammates are leading a revival of sorts at Newsome.

The Wolves are 8-0 this season, winning consecutive matches against Plant, Plant City and Steinbrenner, three of Hillsborough County's best teams.

The Wolves have scored 45 goals and are averaging nearly six a game. They've allowed just two.

And they're doing it with a roster filled mostly with underclassmen.

Sophomore Lindsey Eaton leads the team with 10 goals. Freshman newcomer Peyton Smith has seven, including both goals in a 2-1 win against Plant and the lone tally to beat Plant City 1-0.

Gutsche, a junior stopper committed to Auburn, and McNeff, a sophomore sweeper, drive a defense that has shut out six of eight opponents.

"They play like they've been here for four years," seventh-year Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said. "And in big games, too. I mean, you can't ask for more than that."

The past two seasons have been disappointing for a Newsome program with ridiculously high standards, having won seven district titles and qualifying for the postseason all 10 years of the school's existence. In 2012, the Wolves were bounced from the playoffs in the first round, their earliest postseason exit. Last season, Newsome had its run of four straight district titles snapped and again failed to win a playoff game.

"None of my freshmen or sophomores even knows what it's like to win a district, so I think they're hungry," Townsend said.

The Wolves are hoping to return to the big stage this season, to play in a region final or state championship in front of a couple thousand fans. Along the way, maybe the next wave of young recruits will be watching from the stands, dreaming about the day they get to slip on a Newsome uniform.

"We still reminisce about that game against George Jenkins," said Claire Kartheiser, one of two seniors on the team. "We want to relive that experience."

Young talent strives to keep Newsome soccer at top of its game 11/18/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  2. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 12:45: Cash said Robertson was taking better swings Friday and so he wanted to move him up today, liking the idea of having three straight right-handers vs. a LHP they don't know much about. ... Souza was still smiling this morning about his failed dive attempt last night, and the reaction it got. .. The …

  3. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  4. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.