Senior Caitlin West has helped the soccer team with four shutouts in nine games. (Kyle Brown // The Viking Press)

Update (May 8, 1:39 p.m.): The soccer team will host Croatan in the first round of the state 2A playoffs tonight at 7. 

By Kyle Brown
Sports Editor

Few would have predicted a 6-2-1 start for the Vikings’ soccer team, but the team is playing with confidence behind the leadership of senior goalkeeper Caitlin West.

West, who plans to attend North Carolina State University to major in engineering, already has five shutouts in the Vikings’ first nine games.

Though she may seem calm and very quiet, she transforms into a more vocal player on the field who is capable of calling plays and moving players where they need to be — all of which are traits that coaches look for in good goalkeepers.

“She brings a very strong focus,” coach Joe Romig said. “She is focused every game. Her attitude is there is no room for losing.”

As a result of her hard work on the field, West was named a team captain, a position she said comes with a great honor.

“I feel privileged to be named a team captain,” she said. “It is a role that I plan on taking very seriously and helping my teammates improve.”

Humble is one word that describes West. Though not the type to brag, she certainly lets her actions speak for her on the field with five shutouts before the team has even played a conference game.

Many casual soccer fans will under-rate a goalie due to their lack of movement and scoring, but the goalie is the heart of the team.

“Some people forget about us (goalies) because we aren’t the flashy scissor kicking athletes but I like to think of us as the unsung heroes,” West said.

West has seen plenty of growth on the soccer team since her freshman year, when the team was mired in a 39-game losing streak. That streak, which gave way to a six-game winning streak, is ancient history for a team that went to the playoffs last year and looks to compete for a conference title this season.

Romig credits team chemistry for the Vikings’ early success.

“The unselfishness of players and encouragement has brought the team together to actually compete at a higher level than what our talent should allow us to compete at,” Romig said.

West agreed.

“Since I have been on this team, from the ups and downs I know what it takes to be great and I want the best for my team,” West said. “This year should be a great one for our team and school.”