BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A new era is dawning for Birmingham-Southern women's soccer. The Panthers begin their first season under Head Coach Katelyn Geddings this fall and welcomed 17 freshmen to the Hilltop. Geddings is no stranger to BSC. A three-year assistant with the program, she brings her passion for BSC soccer and a fresh attitude to the team under her direction as the Panthers push for a Southern Athletic Association championship.
"Being the head coach, I'm not too big to do the small things," said Geddings. "I can still get my hands dirty. To have 17 returners and 17 incoming, it has to be our team. Without each other there is no us."
Among the returners is a powerful, and experienced defense. BSC brings back two-year starting goalkeeper Blakley Jones (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Holy Spirit Catholic HS), as well as a backline with Kirby Hopkins (Gurley, Ala./Huntsville HS), Lillie Sumrall (Longwood, Fla./Lake Mary HS), Bailey Gardner (Mobile, Ala./McGill-Toolen Catholic HS), and Amelia Dodds (Huntsville, Ala./Saint John Paull II Catholic HS).
"Blakely is impactful and has been placed on the SAA all-tournament and all-conference teams since she was a freshman," Geddings noted. "Kirby is very impactful and a great leader. Lillie has been a game changer for us since her freshman year. Then Bailey came in last year and helped dominate the back line as a center defender. And Amelia has played a strong role for us the past two seasons."
Two of the biggest returning offensive threats for the Panthers are Sydney Barrow (Birmingham, Ala./Indian Springs HS) and Amber Thompson (Waxhaw, N.C./Cuthbertson HS). Barrow led the team in goals and points last season.
"Sydney scored key goals for us in conference and out of conference," said Geddings. "She's a very fast, strong player. Amber played a huge role in the midfield for us with assists and goal scoring opportunities."
This incoming class is the largest in recent history. They hail from six different states and bring a different dynamic to the program.
"We brought in depth for every position," Geddings added. "Not only depth but impactful players for these positions. We expect to see drive for competitiveness or to compete, knowing their role, and understanding the difference of college soccer and the mindset."
BSC opens the season on the road at the Maryville College Invitational August 30-31, where they take on the host Scots and Piedmont College.
The fight for a conference title begins on the road at Hendrix Saturday, Sept. 28. Centre College has been the team to beat in league. They have won six straight conference championships and ranked as high as fourth nationally last year. BSC welcomes the Colonels to the Hilltop on Sunday, Oct. 20 for a chance at an upset.
"I would definitely say the mindset, from the first day I took over as head coach, every time I speak to a girl or the team, is that we are going to win conference," said Geddings. "I think that we need to focus on one game at a time in conference and focus on ourselves and how we can beat this team."
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