Marvin Ridge Gearing Up For Conference Play

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At A Glance:

Marvin Ridge High School
Conference: Southern Carolina Conference 3A
Coach: Keith Koteles
Between the Lines: Lost 4-1 to Cox Mill in the third round of the Class 3A Soccer Championships last season. … Senior defender Grace Lynn-Lato has signed with North Carolina-Wilmington.
After losing seven seniors and six starters off last year’s team, Marvin Ridge girls soccer coach Keith Koteles decided to send the 2017 Mavericks girls soccer team into the fire with a competitive non-conference schedule in preparation for the Southern Carolina Conference schedule.

So far, things are going well for the Mavericks.
Marvin Ridge is 5-2-1 overall as of March 23 as the Mavericks prepare for the March 28 conference opener at Anson. Marvin Ridge has just two seniors on the roster.

“We came into the season as a pretty young team,” Koteles said. “We are starting two freshmen and four sophomores that were really not in the rotation last year. It has been a challenge for us with pretty much a new starting lineup. We are young, but there is a lot of talent and a lot of heart.

“Our non-conference schedule has been pretty tough. We don’t like to dodge anyone in non-conference, and it prepares us for when conference comes.”
Defender Grace Lynn-Lato is one of the Mavericks most experienced and talented players and the senior has signed to play soccer at North Carolina-Wilmington. Lynn-Lato is a four-year starter and she had 11 goals and 10 assists as a junior.

Juliana Lombard is the Mavericks other senior but the Mavericks keeper did not play as a junior.  “Her confidence is building,” Koteles said.

Junior forwards Blake Sutherland and Lauren Seibold both have five goals each the first eight games of the season. Sophomore Gracie Murphy has added four goals in eight games.  “Sutherland is a very strong player,” Koteles said. “Grace Murphy and Lauren Seibold have been putting in some goals. We haven’t been putting in as many goals as last season. One area we are hurting this year is goal scorers.”

Freshmen Lauren Huffstelter and Cameron Joffe are also providing scoring punch for Marvin Ridge.
“Lauren stands 5-foot-1 on a good day but she is fantastic on-and-off the ball,” Koteles said. “She has a great soccer IQ and she doesn’t allow someone to outwork her because of her size. A surprise to us this year is Cameron Joffe. She knows what it takes to play and she jumped in and has been starting ever since for us. She gets it.”  Koteles said the Southern Carolina Conference is balanced from top to bottom.

“Our conference is one of the toughest in the state, 4A, 3A, 2A,” Koteles said.

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at