The Alcovy Lady Tigers soccer team has gotten off to a fast start, winning its first four games, including two region contests, before falling 6-1 to Greenbrier this past Friday. The Tigers, coached by Chris Ubriaco, have a talented squad with several college signees, and others who are prospects. One of those prospects is junior forward Kaliya Eutsey. Eutsey has scored 15 goals on the season on 17 shots, and has carved out a reputation as one of the best players in the area.
We chatted with Eutsey to get her thoughts on her and her team’s fast start, and what that means for their season goals.
CovNewsSports: Kaliya, this is one of the best starts through five games that Alcovy girls soccer has had. What would you attribute that to?
Eutsey: “I just think this year we’re more focused on winning the region and just getting into the playoffs. We’ve got nine seniors on this year’s team, and we want to make sure that they end their careers in a good way.”
CovNewsSports: With such a senior heavy team, how much do you feel the team’s overall experience has aided in the early success?
Eutsey: “It helps us because we all know how we play together, and we’re all so used to each other, and we just have that connection and chemistry on the field. It shows up when we’re able to pass the ball around and move it around easily instead of just kicking it up and running to it. Team ball movement has been huge for us.”
CovNewsSports: Biggest highlight of the season so far. What would you say that is?
Eutsey: “During the Union Grove game (a 3-2, Alcovy win), we started to settle down and find our tempo. When we did that, on one particular sequence, we were connecting on a few passes and then we were able to score. I think that play just showed the kinds of improvements we’ve made.”
CovNewsSports: Why have you been able to get off to such a hot start as a goal scorer this season?
Eutsey: “Honestly, I really don’t know. I just feel the urge to take the ball more often and just take my chances. The only thing worse than missing a shot or something like that is not trying at all. I think one place I know I’ve improved since last year is moving off the ball more often which helps me to make those runs.”
CovNewsSports: How does the whole college recruiting thing work in soccer? Are you starting to get some recruiting attention?
Eutsey: “Most colleges, they look at you toward the end of your junior year, or beginning of your senior year. They tend to look for you in your club season, not so much as in the high school season, because they know typically high school ball is more relaxed and most, not all, but most aren’t as challenging as the club season is.
Some coaches do come out to your high school games if interested, and they often don’t want you playing club your senior year with the risk of getting injured and all that. But I do have a couple of schools. One in particular is University of Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. They’ve been communicating with me and showing some interest.”
CovNewsSports: It seems that with the emergence of Atlanta United coming to the area, soccer’s popularity is at an all time high. As a pretty talented soccer player yourself, that has to feel good for you, right?
Eutsey: “Yeah it definitely does. You can look around almost anywhere and see people wearing an Atlanta United t-shirt nowadays. I like it because it shows people aren’t just worrying about American football. People are starting to see there are other sports out there worthy of attention. It’s a good thing to see.”
CovNewsSports: Last question for you. What are your goals, personally, for this season? And what does the team discuss when talking about team goals?
Eutsey: “As for me, I’m trying to set it up for myself to have the most goals for Alcovy possibly this year, and just try to be an all-around team player. Sometimes I get a little agitated when we’re not doing what we’re supposed to or what I know we can. I can definitely say that’s gotten better for me. But as for the team, we talk about how we feel like we have a great chance to win region this year and get to the playoffs if we can play Alcovy-style soccer — connecting those passes out of the back and scoring. We’re excited for what we can do this year.”