Senior leadership on any team can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful season.
And senior forward Ashley Seltzer is not an ordinary senior.
She scored 27 goals and recorded 13 assists last season, which helped earn her the District 4-AAA forward of the year award.
Marshall University recognized Seltzer’s goal-scoring capabilities and the rest of her assets when they offered her a soccer scholarship. The Bearden senior will graduate in December to join the Thundering Herd in the spring.
“Ashley always knows what to do when she gets the ball,” junior central midfielder Emily Mayfield said. “She never has any problems figuring out where to go with the ball.”
The Lady Bulldogs lost 2-1 in their season opener to Maryville, but Seltzer got off to a good start when she curled a strike into the bottom right corner of the net from 25 yards out.
First-year head coach Ryan Radcliffe is trying to implement a different style than in years past. He also knows there is tough competition lurking in the area and is happy to have Seltzer on his side.
In the new system, Seltzer is playing as a withdrawn forward, so while her goal-scoring chances may decrease slightly, her ability to facilitate for her other attacking players should increase.
“It is very nice as a first-year coach to have someone like Ashley on the team,” Coach Radcliffe said. “And all I try to do is not try to over-coach her.”
Her teammates rave about her optimistic attitude and enthusiasm. She is known to be fiery and always knows how to get the team excited about practice and games.
In addition, Coach Radcliffe is a firm believer on what takes good players to the next level.
“The thing that separates players comes from one main thing and that is from their work ethic,” Coach Radcliffe said. “And Ashley definitely has a great one.”
Seltzer is also focused strongly on what the team is capable of this year and sees great opportunities in the new style of play.
“I want us to play well as a team in our new style,” Seltzer said. “I think that it is very important.”
She also had many interesting points on the team, but emphasized one major aspect of this season.
“I have pretty high expectations this year,” Seltzer said. “I think we are going to be very good.
“Ultimately, I want to get to state this year.”