(Aug. 30, 2019) Steve Isett was the assistant coach of the Stephen Decatur girls’ varsity soccer team last season and this year, he is running the program.
Since he was part of the team in 2018 the transition from assistant to head coach has been fairly smooth.
“The girls got a taste of what my expectations were last year,” Isett said. “It’s been a little bit of a learning curve for the girls in terms of my expectations.”
The players have been receptive to the new leadership.
“He knows what he’s talking about. He’s very hardcore, so that’s good, and he keeps us all straight,” said senior co-captain Alyssa Romano.
“He has a lot of experience and he’s really pushing the girls,” junior co-captain Macy Dill said. “He wants us to be successful.”
Isett, who was an assistant coach for the Snow Hill boys’ soccer team for four years before coming to Decatur, want the girls to play possession-style soccer, for them to work the ball around and look for an open player.
“We’ve got an intelligent group of girls and I expect them to make good, intelligent plays on the field,” he said.
Twelve of the 20 girls on his roster played last year when the team went 4-9. The Seahawks’ season ended in the second round of the playoffs.
There are six freshmen on the team who will compete for starting positions, he said.
“We’re young in many ways as far as what I expect on the field and the number of freshmen new to the team,” Isett said. “The freshmen are all travel players, so they have experience.”
Isett is pleased with what he has seen so far.
“I’ve seen the beginnings of some very good things,” he said.
Isett said the team defense is solid with Romano in the back as the sweeper.
“We’ll have a much more organized defense and hopefully not give up as many goals,” he said. “As they learn the possession style and attacking style, hopefully that well lead to more goals.”
Romano was a forward, but Isett wanted to utilize her talents in the defensive end this year. She led the team in scoring during the 2018 regular season, with seven goals.
She also earned Bayside South All-Conference First Team honors for her performance last season.
“Alyssa was willing to play wherever to get more wins. It displays a level of unselfishness,” he said. “Having her in the back will help solidify our defense.”
Romano has been a member of the team since she was a freshman. Playing defense for lacrosse helped with the transition in soccer from forward to the back, she said.
“I’m excited because I’m always doing something now. Before, it felt like I was just standing up there,” she said.
Dill, a center midfielder and member of the team for three seasons, also scored seven goals last season. She received Bayside South Second Team honors for her performance.
She hopes to lead the team in transiting from offense to defense on the field.
“I believe as a junior captain I’ll be able to lead this year as well as next year,” she said. “I believe this team is a lot better than last year.”
Senior co-captain Isy Kristick returns in the goal for Decatur. She earned an honorable mention award for her performance last year.
Isett will look to newcomers, freshmen Hannah Dang (midfield), Amelia Kemp (forward/midfield) and Eva Luzier (defense) to make an impact.
The team is shooting for an over-.500 record this year.
“I think that’s realistic for the program,” Isett said. “We also want to set the tone for what it means to be a girls’ soccer player at Stephen Decatur. We want to set certain standards and expectations.”
Isett is thankful for the “great group of girls I have.”
Decatur’s first game is Monday, Sept. 9 against the North Caroline Bulldogs at 5:30 p.m. in Ridgley.
The Seahawks are anxious to play on Decatur’s new turf field inside the stadium.
“Every other school pretty much has turf fields, so it’s really nice to be able to have that consistency through the game,” Dill said.