Apex Friendship is closing in on two seasons of varsity girls soccer. The results have not been there yet for the up-and-coming program, but that was always going to be a challenge in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
“We play in arguably one of the best conferences in the state. They compete every game, they show up, they play hard no matter who we play. I couldn’t be prouder for them and the progress they’ve made over the last two years,” said coach Derek Blackwelder.
The Patriots (1-12-1, 1-11) are forced to rely heavily on young players and have scored just seven goals this year. The lone win was a 3-1 decision against Cary. Friendship has no seniors and just five juniors, seven freshmen and 10 sophomores.
“We lean a lot on our older players. Everyone has been in the program for two years now except for our freshmen. We have (five) juniors we rely on a lot and we’ll rely on them next year as well,” Blackwelder said. “It’s nice to have them as leaders three years in a row.”
Blackwelder’s process in year two continues to be developing the talent he has, and getting the most out of his team. With time and experience that comes for a program that has been around for years, he sees big things with his young squad.
“It all comes down to developing and getting better every day. That’s something we talk about all the time,” he said. “It’s a learning process with such a young team. We don’t have those seniors who’ve been there four years. It’s definitely a learning process but they’re getting better. ... Within two years they’ll be competing in the playoffs. That’s the goal. But I’m very excited for what’s to come for these ladies.”