Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments “Every time a coach is saying something to Clarke, I’ll listen in and make sure I get that information,” Nethercott said. “That way, we can both work on it.”Although Nethercott has yet to start since the season-opener, SU head coach Phil Wheddon refers to the sophomore as the type of player he tries to build his program around: a positive individual on and off the field.“One of the things we talk a lot about is character and trying to bring in good players who are also good people,” Wheddon said.Awaiting ACC matchups with No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 North Carolina, No. 13 Duke and No. 17 North Carolina State, Nethercott will soon get her first taste of conference action this season, whether it’s via start or substitution. Wheddon knows that she’s athletic enough to compete in the ACC going forward. Now, Nethercott wants to take the responsibility and help navigate freshmen at SU.“I think just having that experience under your belt,” Aviza said of Nethercott, “you’re able to lead better.” A sophomore defender at Syracuse, Nethercott finds herself with an opportunity to crack the SU (3-6, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) rotation after the Orange lost their top two defenders from last season in Jessica Vigna and Alana O’Neill. Though Nethercott appeared in only 5 games last year, she started her first career game in the season-opening loss against La Salle and registered a career-high 46 minutes in the Orange’s first victory of the season against Connecticut.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMany of Nethercott’s early memories in soccer are with close friends and family. She grew up playing with her best friends. Her father was her coach. Nethercott said her father helped her throughout her entire journey in soccer, including when she hurt her ankle. After the injury, she set a goal for the years ahead.“I realized that I wanted to go far in this and not let it end in two years,” Nethercott said,She didn’t. As a senior, she helped lead her team to a 21-3 record, including 14-2 in league play. That was the Tigers’ best record during her time there, and it earned Ridgefield the No. 2 ranking in the state of Connecticut.When it came time to pick a school, the choice seemed simple, Nethercott said. Her dad is an alumnus of Syracuse, and her sister, Caroline, is a student at SU. When Caroline visited Syracuse, Nethercott often accompanied her and attended SU soccer camps.Two years after arriving to Syracuse, Nethercott is focused on filling the gaps left behind by two key defenders who graduated last spring.Last season, Vigna and O’Neill started every game for SU. In their combined 146 games played over their collegiate career, they started all but three and were the backbones of the Syracuse defense. Nethercott often reflects on the advice they gave her.“Be confident, and you can achieve whatever you set yourself to,” Nethercott said of their message. “If you keep working out a goal and are tough, you’re going to get time.”Laura Angle | Digital Design EditorNethercott spent much of her summer on the field to improve the technical aspects of her game — footwork and clearing — which she considers her weaknesses. A central defender for most of her career, she changed her position to right back because the SU coaches said the position was open. She worked in that position all summer to fill the role. Sophomore defender Shannon Aviza said she can see Nethercott taking one of the spots vacated by O’Neill and Vigna.Her main competitor for playing time this year is sophomore Clarke Brown. But for the best friends on and off the field, Nethercott said in order for the team to succeed in its ACC schedule, she and Brown need to push each other and improve together. Published on September 18, 2018 at 7:41 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @CraneAndrew When Molly Nethercott was a sophomore at Ridgefield (CT) High School, she suffered a broken ankle and was forced to spend time away from the soccer field. During that absence, the defender realized her desire to continue her soccer career was too strong to resist.“When I was out, I was like ‘I really miss this,’” Nethercott recalled.Throughout the remainder of her time at Ridgefield, Nethercott saw her minutes on the field increase as she took on a larger role. And now she may have the opportunity to do the same.