By Kim West
For the first time in the program’s 15-year history, the West Limestone girls soccer team has earned a state ranking with an unyielding defense, an unblemished record and a cohesive mentality.
The Wildcats (8-0) broke into the March 24 state poll at No. 7, one spot above Area 13 rival West Morgan and behind fourth-ranked Randolph, which has eliminated West Limestone in the opening round of the Class 1A-4A state playoffs the past two seasons.
“Our players’ attitudes are just awesome, and this is a fun group to coach,” said first-year West coach Kerry Gowan, who shares coaching responsibilities with Richard Martin. “It’s been a good first year, and I think people are starting to take notice with us being undefeated.”
Left back Sarah Easter, middle defenders Laura Easter and Anna Harper Gowan and right back Leahgrace Simmons have not allowed a goal this season, and 5-foot-9-inch goalkeeper Krislynn Berzett has recorded seven straight shutouts.
“I think the strength of our team is our defense. Our regular defense has yet to give up a goal, and Krislynn Berzett has been amazing. She has stopped a lot of shots and come up with a lot of big saves for us,” said Kerry Gowan.
The defensive unit’s best showing this season was a 1-0 victory on March 21 against East Limestone, a tough 5A opponent and a perennial playoff team. A goal by West left striker Allison Martin and Berzett’s 16 saves — including a point-blank stop in the closing minutes — sealed the Wildcats’ second all-time win against the Indians.