Bare leading the way for Wildcats
WESLEY CHAPEL - Kelsey Bare's influence is nearly immeasurable. "She's left a wonderful legacy here at Wesley Chapel," third-year girls soccer coach Michelle Clark said. "It'll be hard when she leaves." However, Bare isn't headed far. In fact, the senior goal scorer, who has already set school records with 15 goals and 36 points this season, will be just a stone's throw away after committing to Saint Leo and becoming one of the few signees to come from Wesley Chapel's soccer program. "Kelsey is like a leader on the field — she wants to win every ball," Clark said. "The other girls see that and they want to be like Kelsey. This team has never had players like her."If you just watch her on the field, she goes hard on every play and that gets the other players excited," added Clark, who also previously coached Bare at CPUSA in Land O' Lakes. "Having that leader on the field, like Kelsey, makes a huge difference, everyone wants to be like her, wants to play like her, shoot like her and then play in college like she will." Bare's play turned the Wildcats into a team that's in contention in Class 3A-District 7, including when it locked up the No. 1 seed last season and finished as district runner-up for the program's first state tournament berth. "A lot of it had to do with coach Clark coming in and bringing a new mentality to the team," Bare said. "Even though with not that much talent, she taught us how to fight hard and never give up. It's gotten us pretty far." This season, as host of the 3A-7 district tournament, Wesley Chapel is 5-8-2, and with 2-4-2 district record, the No. 4 seed. Not where Clark and Bare wanted to be, but there have been a few rough games and injuries have also hampered the team. "Once we started winning, we wanted to win more, so everyone really stepped up to the plate because we wanted to do better for the program," Bare said. "We've gotten some good wins in this year and could've had more." "I really had to put it in their heads that they could win," Clark added, "and once they got those first few wins under their belt, they gained that confidence that made my second year, last year, phenomenal. We broke records and did things and went places this team had never done in the past. "They got that confidence that really fueled everything now." Wesley Chapel has games with Tampa Catholic, Hudson and Anclote remaining, but it has been Bare's influence that has completely transformed the Wildcats. An influence that future players will always try to measure up to. "I hope some of the freshmen and underclassmen want to keep the winning going," Bare said, "and they continue to work hard and strive to be the best they can. I feel like I — we've started something here and I hope (the team) keeps getting better from here on."
Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunas.