Duxbury’s Nee is all over the field
Senior captain praised for speed and versatility
This story is from BostonGlobe.com, the only place for complete digital access to the Globe.
Ask Laura Nee what position she plays on the soccer field and the Duxbury High senior has difficulty providing one answer: She has excelled in a number of roles.
“I would say my best position is probably forward,” said Nee during one of the Dragons’ first practice sessions of the preseason last week.
“I played that mostly last year for high school, but I played mostly outside mid this year for my club team. I’ve played center mid. I’ve played stopper defensively, so I don’t know. I’ll do anything.
A leader on and off the field, Nee is well prepared for her final season at Duxbury, one in which she will serve as the program’s lone captain for the first time since current Dartmouth College junior Caitlin Burke three years ago.
Nee is a four-year varsity starter and a returning Patriot League and Eastern Mass. all-star for a Duxbury squad that reached the Division 2 South final before falling to Canton, 3-0. She collected 12 goals and 15 assists for the 15-2-5 Dragons.
Canton is a nonleague foe, but the Bulldogs have knocked Duxbury out of the tournament two of the last three years (3-1, in the Division 2 South semifinals).
“We get really worked up when a team beats us, so we’ll definitely be out there to beat them,” said Nee. “We’ve lost seniors and they’ve lost seniors. Our last game wasn’t our best, definitely. We shouldn’t have lost 3-0. It was definitely an off game.”
Duxbury coach Emerson Coleman values Nee’s ability to play virtually every position on the field.
“She could be a center forward,” he said. “She could be one of the best players as a center midfielder. She is somebody that I wouldn’t hesitate to pull back in to the defensive side of the field. You got to want to be versatile. She’ll always ask me, ‘Where do you want me, Coach?’ She’s willing to change roles two or three times in a game,” said Coleman.
Nee’s speed and versatility is also valued on her club team, the U-17 Crusaders, which advanced to the US Youth Soccer Presidents Cup in Sacramento, Calif., in July. The Crusaders lost to Arsenal Royal, Colo., in the championship game.
Duxbury assistant Tim Dunn, also the head coach of the U-17 squad, has spent a great deal of time observing Nee on the field.
“I think she’s going to bring great leadership through her enthusiasm and athletic field play,” he said. “Laura’s a great teammate. She’s a hard worker. She’s a gamer and an exceptional athlete, all good things you look for in soccer players, both male and female.”
She netted 10 goals and seven assists for the club team this season.
She plans to play at the next level and has had contact with Brown, a Division 1 program in the Ivy League, and Trinity, a Division 3 school in the NESCAC. She hopes to study biology.
“I really love the team aspect of soccer,” she said. “The past three years at soccer have been so fun. Soccer’s been the source of all my best experiences in high school. I’m not ready to stop being on a team.”
As a captain, her responsibilities are not limited to winning games, but uniting all the players through team bonding activities.
“We like to do scavenger hunts and team dinners, team movies. We actually paint the field behind the high school. We write Duxbury soccer and our names,” said Nee.
Nee is the leader of a talented group.
Sophomore Nicole Gavin, who led the Patriot League in scoring (15 goals, 15 assists), is back, along with junior Emily Weimer (9 goals, 8 assists).
Senior goalie Heather Dorn allowed just 10 goals in 12 games last season.
But they take their cue from Nee. Her dedication to team and academics is one of the reasons she garnered so many votes from her teammates as team captain.
“Someone once said that individual recognition comes from team success and Laura is an example of that,” said the coach.
“It’s very easy to coach a team when your best players are your hardest-working players and that personifies Laura. It just brings the whole group along, and Laura is the leader of the group right now,” said Coleman.
Coryn Doncaster can be reached at email@example.com.