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North girls soccer team keeps rolling along

By CJ HADDAD - | Jan 20, 2021

North Fort Myers sophomore Avery Utt (4) tallied two goals and two assists during the Red Knights 8-0 win at Island Coast Thursday night. To view more photos from the match, see the Neighbor Facebook page. MICHAEL PISTELLA

cjhaddad@breezenewspapers.com

The North Fort Myers girls soccer team continued its winning ways Thursday night defeating Island Coast 8-0, its 11th victory of the season.

Lady Red Knight junior Emily Guzman and sophomore Avery Utt each notched a pair of goals while four others chipped in one each as part of an impressive road performance.

North (11-1-3) sits atop the Region 5A District 11 standings and according to MaxPreps, is ranked 29th in the state and 58th in the nation.

NFM head coach Nick Erickson said he is pleased with the way his relatively young group has performed in a complicated year due to COVID-19.

“We’re really excited about (the way the season’s progressed),” Erickson said. “We’ve got a good group of freshman mixed in with a great sophomore class. We have a smaller junior and senior class, but very high-level players, so we’re very fortunate.”

Their philosophy?

“We always preach play simple – don’t try to do too much. Do your job, trust your teammate, and good things should and will happen,” Erickson said.

If Thursday night’s performance is any indication of the Red Knights’ communication and talent as a team, this could be a group that continues to set the tone for the area for years to come. North this season features eight underclassman in its starting lineup.

“We’re young – very, very young,” Erickson said. “It’s a good group – talented, athletic, versatile. I think they’ve got the potential to do a lot of things as they progress and grow together over these next couple of years.”

Leading the way this year for the Lady Red Knights on the score sheet and beyond is junior Michelle Horan.

“She’s done a really nice job,” Erickson said. “She’s really picked up her play the last couple of weeks. When she’s going, to me, there’s not a better player in the county. We need to feed off of what she can do offensively, effort wise, and she’s definitely growing into that leadership role.”

Also having impressive seasons finding the back of the net are freshman Evie McCarthy and Sophia Kerns.

Erickson said moving forward the most vital aspect to close out the season (four games remaining) is to stay healthy.

“Mask up,” Erickson said. “That’s the primary message. After that, it’s about taking care of your bodies – stretch, hydrate.”

North next takes on South Fort Myers (2-8-1) at home Tuesday night at 6 p.m. The Red Knights will close out the season with two good tests; first on the road versus Lemon Bay (9-4) and at home against Canterbury (11-0-1).

— Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad