It’s debatable whether Lancaster would have just completed its best girls’ soccer season in school history, if senior Frances Whitesides wasn’t on the team.
Actually, it’s not.
The midfielder did it all for the Bruins, helping them to a second-place finish in an always tough Region 3-4A, a 16-7 final record, and a first ever trip to the second round of the state playoffs after beating Riverside 1-0 in the first round. The Bruins were 7-11 in 2013 and Whitesides was a huge reason for their turnaround. She scored 30 goals and assisted 16 more, while generally terrorizing region and non-region foes alike.
“Frances stepped up this year into a leadership role and that helped the team step up as well,” said Lancaster coach Ed Humphrey, who was compelled to send his thoughts on his star player from halfway around the world during a vacation in Sweden.
Whitesides’ career won’t stop now. She’s signed to play at Presbyterian College this fall. The all-action play-maker scored nine goals and assisted two en route to an All-Area selection last spring, but saw her stats, and her team’s success, surge this past season.
“She scored more this year because she had more help from her teammates,” said Humphrey, who is the Herald’s All-Area Girls’ Soccer Coach of the Year. “When she was struggling, someone stepped up and took the pressure off of her.”
Whitesides burst through the Clover backline and scored with two minutes left in the game for a 2-1 Lancaster win; Against Nation Ford, the Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead before the Falcons equalized. Humphrey didn’t have to say much at the half; Whitesides piped up, telling her team very simply they weren’t going to lose. She scored twice in the second half to help Lancaster to a big win.
First teamClaire Allen Frances Whitesides
Second teamEmma Maddox Mahogany Fisher Brooke Ward Mahogany Setzer Bailey Penegar Sarah Bergin Grayson Chappell Jenna Koster Sam Petit Sierra Bell
Marley Landrum, Rock Hill; Libbey Dewey, Fort Mill; Maddi Blaschke, Fort Mill; Emma Gladu, Indian Land; Kelsey Groll, Indian Land; Brooke Humphrey, Lancaster; Mary Sizemore, Lancaster; Alex Pletiniewski, Clover; Cori Erwin, Clover; Cameron Davis, South Pointe.