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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Morris builds solid Lady Camel program

Contributed Photo. Campbell County Head Coach Dave Morris instructs the team during the fall. The 1976 Highlands graduate led Campbell County to its first 10th Region championship in school history this past fall.
It has been a process.

But the plan paid off this year as 1976 Highlands graduate Dave Morris guided the Campbell County Lady Camels soccer team to their best season in school history. Campbell County finished a school-record 18-6-1 to go with 37th District and 10th Region crowns. That marked the first region crown in school history.

The Lady Camels have constantly grown since Morris became the head coach in 2007. Campbell County went 15-6-2 in 2013 losing to in-town arch-rival Bishop Brossart in both the 37th District and 10th Region title games. The Lady Camels went 14-9-2 in 2012 also losing to Bishop Brossart in both the 37th District and 10th Region championship games.

Campbell County won those games with just four seniors. They were Bryanna Schroers, defender Brooklyn Burgess along with forwards Carolyn Bertsch and Abby Vandergriff. Bertsch led Campbell County with 13 goals and Burgess had a team-high nine assists.

“We’re a young team. We were still experienced because we had some key players that played varsity the previous year,” Morris said. “They were a group of girls who believed they were going to win and didn’t expect to lose. They were a confident bunch. Whether we got down in a game or not, we still played hard. That went well.”

Campbell County recorded some huge wins on the season. The Lady Camels beat Bishop Brossart three times and knocked off defending state champion Notre Dame, 1-0 on Oct. 14.

“They already were winning most of our games,” Morris said. “We played Notre Dame late in the season. Once we beat Notre Dame, they knew we were capable of beating anybody. We played a lot of tough teams in Louisville. They knew that if kept playing hard, they knew they were capable of beating anybody on a given day.”

Morris said the big difference between this year and his first couple years at Campbell County has been an attitude change and seeing more players involved with club soccer. The strategy has also been more like the best teams in Kentucky.

“Teams that rely on just pure speed and playing the ball forward at all times and don’t possess usually don’t make it far into the playoffs because strong, defensive type teams that can possess against them rise to the top,” Morris said. “That’s why teams like Notre Dame and teams downstate like West Jessamine have been so successful.”

Morris has coached boys before. But he said there is a huge difference between motivating boys and teen-age girls.

“You can hold them accountable,” Morris said. “But I think the key thing is in order to motivate teen-aged girls, you need to have a positive coaching style with positive reinforcement. You can still get on people. You have to communicate daily with every player.”

Defender Holly Schwarber returns for Campbell County in 2015 for her senior season. Schwarber earned First Team All-State Sweeper honors. Schwarber liked how the coaches molded her and her teammates into a team.

“The coaches keep us together,” Schwarber said. “We did a lot of team bonding this year. We would go to each others’ houses, eat dinner and do crafts. We painted one time and they helped organize that. If there was a conflict, it would be a team thing. They would not take individuals aside. I think that was a part of our success for sure.”

Morris has been coaching for a while. The Lady Camels own a record of 100-47-21 since he took over. Before going to Campbell County, Morris served as the head girls soccer coach at Walton-Verona for three years. His overall record during those 11 seasons is 130-73-24.

Morris works as an Engineer for General Electric Aviation in Cincinnati. Morris said his job is very good about letting him take off to coach.

“I’ve been there a long time,” Morris said. “I take vacation days on game days and things like that. My boss is great. He’s a soccer fan. He’s understanding about soccer a lot. From July to October, I’m not home a lot. We usually practice between 7 and 9 p.m. at night.”

Morris played on the 1975 Class 3A state championship Bluebird football team led by Head Coach Roger Walz that beat Franklin-Simpson, 6-0. Highlands did not have a boys soccer team at that point. The Bluebird program did not start until 1985.

Morris and his wife live in Fort Thomas. All four of their kids graduated from Highlands.

The Lady Camels hope to keep building on the last couple years. He said a goalkeeper needs to step forward and Campbell County needs to replace the scoring production of the two starting forwards.

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