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2 friends at rival schools kick off soccer season

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WAKE FOREST — Wakefield High School’s Kaitlyn Bouck and Heritage High School’s Hayley Boyles have known each other for years, but their high school soccer careers are coming to an end this spring.

The two girls are the top two players in the area for two of the best teams in the county. In two seasons on varsity, Bouck has scored nine goals and dished out 26 assists at the midfielder position. In three years on varsity, Boyles has scored 34 goals and dished out 20 assists at the forward position.

Last year, Wakefield went 17-4-1, won the NAC 6 conference tournament championship and made it to the fourth round of the 4A state playoffs. In the same season, Heritage went 12-5-3 and won the NAC 6 conference regular season championship, but came to an abrupt end in the state playoffs with a 3-2 loss to Laney High School at home.

This year, Bouck is leading Wakefield’s squad to see if they can make a bigger run in the postseason. The senior is confident that the depth of the squad will be enough for a successful season.

“We are excited to have a good, strong and talented group of players coming back this season,” Bouck said. “The experience of these players will help us in close games because many of us have played together for the last couple of years and we know each other’s strengths. We are also excited about the new players joining the team and their ability to make a good contribution to the team.”

For Boyles and Heritage, they are facing a different situation after losing a good number of seniors from last season.

“Our team is very different this year, as we have picked up a lot of new players this season,” Boyles said. “Our greatest challenge coming off of last year’s successful season, is finding a way to get our team to click and mesh well together.”

Wakefield head coach C.J. Komons and Heritage head coach Scott Sloan have been a part of some big rivalry matchups the past few years. The two soccer clubs, which are five miles apart, have set high standards for the players this year after seeing the kind of success they produced last season. Bouck is looking for plenty of wins in her final season of high school soccer.

“Coach C.J. set the expectation for the season to be the best team that we can be,” Bouck said. “The goal this year is to make this team the winningest team in Wakefield history. Coach C.J. has instilled the confidence in us as a team and has made us feel that we have the ability to do that if we prepare and work together.”

Boyles will be leading Heritage this year and the message from her coaches is commitment.

“Coach Sloan and Coach Weiland have set the standard and team motto to be ‘All In,’” Boyles said. “The coaches have really been pushing the girls this upcoming season to be fully committed to the team and each other, so that we can make the most of our season with the talent on the team this year.”

Bouck and Boyles have been friends for almost 10 years, with the sport of soccer being the knot that holds their friendship together. They play club soccer together, most recently with NCFC ECNL.

“Hayley is one of my closest life long friends,” Bouck said. “Our families are also close family friends. I think Hayley is a great athlete and a very good soccer player and drives me to be a better player. Although Hayley plays for our rival school, she will always be one of my closest friends on and off the field. I am excited to continue playing against her next year as we will both be playing collegiate soccer.”

“Kaitlyn and I have a long history,” Boyles said. “Not only have we been playing club soccer together since we were little girls, but we are really close friends off the field. When our schools face each other, we are very competitive, but we do not view each other as rivals.” 

However, for the past four years, the girls had to face each other has rivals. Heritage and Wakefield have fought each other for conference titles many times, making their rivalry that much more special.

“We feel lucky to have a very strong team like Heritage in our conference,” Bouck said. “It is a team that always brings the best out of us because we know if we don’t play to our full potential, they will out play us. Both team’s goals for this season are to win the conference, so that makes the rivalry even stronger. We look forward to playing them this season.” 

“Wakefield has always been a tough rival for us, but each year whenever we face them, we approach them the same way that we approach every team,” Boyles said. “We realize that it is going to be a more difficult game due to the fact that we are rivals, but we just have to play aggressively and have the appropriate mindset going into the game.”

Wakefield will play at Panther Creek Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. Heritage will play at Cardinal Gibbons Thursday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m.

The two rivals will face each other for the first time at 6:30 p.m. March 27 at Heritage and then at Wakefield April 23 at the same time.