For new Whiteland girls soccer coach Abby Gross, dealing with players on a first-name basis has proven quite difficult.
Such is life when perhaps your three best players all go by the same one.
As far as Gross is concerned, the confusion is worth it — because it’s been even harder for opponents to stop senior forward Madi Bartak, junior midfielder Madison Hill and junior forward Madisyn Proctor than it has been for Gross to keep them straight.
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“I call them all by their last names,” the coach explained.
Those names have been getting called quite a bit. Bartak, Hill and Proctor have accounted for 36 of the Warriors’ 47 goals through the first eight matches, as well as 13 of the team’s 25 assists.
Proctor leads the team with 14 goals, with three of those coming in a 6-0 rout of rival Greenwood on Aug. 23 and five more in a Sept. 5 win over Beech Grove. Bartak (10 goals) and Hill (12 goals) each registered a hat trick against Cascade last month, and Hill collected four goals and an assist during a rout of Franklin last Wednesday.
The three have found greater success by playing off of one another — a byproduct of several years together on the same team.
“With the three of us and (junior midfielder) Emily Williams, since we’ve been working together so long we’ve just figured out when to make the runs, when to play the ball,” Bartak said. “We just have great chemistry.
“Last year we weren’t always in sync half the time, but I feel like this year we’re always in sync.”
Each of them brings a different skill set to the table for Whiteland. Hill, tied with Williams for the team lead in assists with seven, is counted on to control the game from the center midfield position. Bartak provides breakaway speed up front, while Proctor, who paced the Warriors with 26 goals last fall, has a nose for the net.
The combination of those assets is producing greater results every time out.
“They’re great girls,” Gross said. “They work hard and they all play really well together. We’ve got really good chemistry this year, and I think that’s made a lot of the difference.”
“If we don’t have one of us Maddies in the game, it’s just really weird,” Proctor added. “We’ve just played with each other for so long that we know how each other plays.”
And now that Gross has been able to figure out a way to communicate with them all confusion-free, there shouldn’t be much else standing in their way.
Madi Bartak, Madison Hill and Madisyn Proctor are off to a great start for Whiteland this season. Their numbers through the team’s first eight matches: