Senior duo of Cottrell, Denning shores up Bearden’s back line

Coaches of all sports stress the importance of defense, but it might be most crucial in the game of soccer, where one defensive error can prove impossible to overcome.

Quality defensive soccer players are difficult to come by, but two veteran seniors anchor Bearden’s defense. Keeper Katie Cottrell and center back Mallory Denning have become not only reliable defensive players, but above average leaders on the team as well.

“They are both great leaders on the field because of where they play,” Coach Eric Turner said. “They are great leaders off the field as well because they are inclusive of everyone on the team and are constantly talking to their teammates to make sure things are not only good with their soccer life but their everyday life as well. ”

Cottrell and Denning, the duo that has made up Bearden’s last line of defense for the past three years, put care for their teammates in front of the soccer and keep friendship as one of their top priorities.

“We do our best to get together with all the girls outside of soccer and get to know the younger ones a lot more,” Denning said. “We think it makes it 10 times easier to play with them on the field if we already have chemistry off the field.”

Cottrell and Denning know a thing or two about chemistry, having been close friends since before high school.

“Mallory and I have been friends and played soccer together since middle school, and it’s just been such a blessing to have her on and off the field because we know exactly what one another is going to do next and we work so well together,” Cottrell said.

Each of the girls has her own strengths and ways of contributing to the team’s main goal of victory.

Denning is the only central defender in Coach Turner’s 3-4-3 system and has the job of keeping opposing offensive pushes away from the goal defended by Cottrell.

“Both positions require constant communication with the various players on the field and they both have to get players in the correct place or make adjustments,” Coach Turner said. “They lead by example and they do exactly what we tell them to do.”

Senior leadership is  prevalent on this year’s BHS girls soccer team, and they are intent on sending this group off on a high note.