By Harrison Tarr
For the Observer
With spring officially here, the grass continues to grow greener on the pitch at the Opelika Sportsplex and excitement continues to build within fans of the Opelika High School women’s soccer program. As the Dawgs enter their final year at the 6A level, head coach Jaclyn Button’s squad has shown the community that it certainly has something to cheer for.
The red and black started 2022 off with a bang, winning four of its first five contests and outscoring opponents by a tally of 41-2
“Definitely just staying focused, staying aggressive with it,” Button said. “It’s been a good start to the season so far.”
According the head coach, the team’s early success is due — in large — to a chemistry within the program which has developed organically across the past several years.
“We’ve got some girls that — a lot of returners — that have played together before,” Button said. “So it’s just great that we’re now able to see these relationships that have formed to be able to communicate, non-verbal as well, on the field.”
While the Dawgs’ outstanding communication has certainly come from years of experience, Button claims that on-field leadership from a strong junior class has also been vital.
“We’ve definitely had some juniors kind of filling in with some of those roles, some sophomores as well,” Button said. “One of our junior captains — Morgan Watts — has really been a vocal leader through the defense and midfield.”
In continuity with her coach’s claims regarding the up and coming class, junior Scarlet Posadas has bolstered the strength of the 2023 group.
“Scarlet Posadas has been playing a little offense for us,” Button said. “She’s definitely helped in the attack.”
While Posadas has certainly been a key factor in the team’s success, the junior is not the only athlete to find herself plugged into a new role. Opelika’s dominance to this point has allowed for development across the board.
“That’s been great too, just overall team morale,” Button said. “Getting everybody some playing time and minutes on the field, that’s been kind of really great for the program.”
With winning and long-term success at the forefront of Button’s mind, the head coach has had to come up with new ways to push her squad to grow and develop before the Dawgs take on the thickest portion of their schedule.
“We’ve had to kind of regroup,” Button said. “It’s tough sometimes — when you’re winning — to say ‘what do we need to work on?’ So that’s definitely been a challenge here. How can we make ourselves 1% better? What can we do to continue to keep that drive and that focus?”
Although the early season results are promising, Button and the rest of the Dawgs must continue to stay the course in preparation for the remainder of their 2022 campaign. Up next: a Tuesday trip to Montgomery to take on the Eagles of Alabama Christian Academy at 5:30 p.m. CST.