SUPERB SHOWING. Nash Central's Bianca Ricks (left) was exceptional for the Lady Bulldogs during last Saturday's victory at The Brittany Showcase. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)
ROCKY MOUNT -- Nash Central High School continues to field competitive girls soccer squads every spring -- but this season promises to be a bit more of a challenge for veteran head coach Ryan Ruiz and his Lady Bulldogs.
That's because Nash Central was hard-hit by graduation last year, including the likes of long-time keeper Anna Shaye Thompson (now playing at Charleston Southern University) and leading scorer Linzi Long.
Central, however, still has plenty of talent remaining, as evidenced by last Saturday's performance at the annual Brittany Girls Soccer Showcase at Gillette Park in Wilson.
Taking on Elizabeth City Northeastern, the Lady Bulldogs controlled the proceedings from the outset and went on to earn a convincing 3- triumph over the Lady Eagles.
Central took the lead for good at the 23:49 mark of the first half when a less-than-stellar clear attempt by Northeastern was pounced upon by Lady Bulldogs' freshman forward Kendall Proctor just outside of the box.
Proctor made no mistake with her attempt, and the Lady Bulldogs had secured a 1-0 advantage.
Veteran Sarah Radjail and sophomore Dennett Rooks later scored for Nash Central. After the match, Radjail was saluted as the Lady Bulldogs' recipient of The Brittany Sportsmanship Award.
Radjail, a senior, is one of Nash Central's veteran standouts and will be counted on to excel in the midfield.
Mallory Roughton is the top scoring threat back for the Lady Bulldogs and is expected to set the offensive tone for Ruiz and Company.
While Nash Central won't have the overall firepower it boasted in 2018, the Lady Bulldogs should be stern on defense, led by Catawba College signee Bianca Ricks and tough senior Hailey Dinota.
Ruiz also likes the potential displayed by several of his team's freshmen, including Proctor and defender Madison Smith, who is already playing a key role along squad's back line.
Nash Central had looked to gain some momentum from its solid effort at The Brittany, but the Lady Bulldogs have fallen to rivals Southern Nash and Rocky Mount this week and are now 1-4 on the campaign against a tough stretch of non-conference competition.