Gaining A Leg Up
Annis Pleased With Successful Two Years At Cape Fear CC
WILMINGTON, N.C. — When Janessa Annis chose to play soccer at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina following high school, never did she imagine the team success the Sea Devils would enjoy during her two seasons.
Despite a 2-0 loss to Harford (Maryland) CC in Saturday’s NJCAA District L championship game, Cape Fear CC won back-to-back NJCAA Division I Region 10 championships and even advanced the national tournament in Melbourne, Florida a season ago.
The 2017 season path was a familiar road for the Sea Devils, who finished 17-1 this year and a mind-boggling 34-4 overall during Annis’ two seasons on campus.
“It was definitely harder this year because I was really expecting to go back to nationals. It wasn’t how I wanted my final season here to end,” Annis said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “Overall, (Harford CC) was more experienced, had more sophomores and was more confident than us.”
Two of the four losses in Annis’ career came in pool play of last year’s national championship tournament, when No. 11 Cape Fear CC lost to No. 2 Butler (Kansas) CC, 3-0, and No. 7 Monroe CC, 6-2, a day later.
“There was a lot of pressure that went along with our undefeated season. I felt like last year the loss in the middle of the season fired us up again and lit a fire under us. It made us want to push ourselves harder at that point in the season,” Annis said. “This season was super successful, but we were getting pretty comfortable with how we were and didn’t really have that final edge.”
For her part, Annis put forth stellar numbers, attracting interest from four-year schools up and down the East Coast according to head coach Ryan Deppa.
“Janessa is by far one of the most coachable players I have been able to work with. Her character as a person is first class and that says a great deal about her family, and her previous coaches and teammates,” Deppa said recently by email. “I look forward to seeing her at the next level.”
This fall, the attacking central midfielder tied for the team lead with 14 assists and was third in goals with 12.
“I feel like my game has definitely improved tremendously since high school,” Annis said.
“People that watched me in high school came down and watched a couple of games,” Annis added. ” … They were telling me how amazing I looked. It felt good because I’ve put in a lot of work. I think I’ve really improved a lot when I look back at it.”
Pile that on last year’s statistics when the 2016 Frewsburg graduate totaled nine goals and six assists in 15 games, including 10 starts, and it’s easy to see why her soccer career will likely continue when she moves on from Cape Fear CC.
“Janessa’s work rate in training and games is next level. You can tell how much she loves the game, her team and the opportunity by the amount of energy and passion she brings to the field,” Deppa said. “She is also passionate about her team, and also about being her best on the field and in the classroom.”
The 5-foot-4 sophomore’s finest game this year came Oct. 14 when she netted a hat trick while adding an assist during a 6-0 win over the University of South Carolina-Lancaster.
Annis also had two assists and the game-winning goal Sept. 12 against Patrick Henry CC while adding two-goal performances in wins over Oxford College of Emory University (Aug. 27) and USC-Lancaster (Sept. 21).
More of a playmaker from her central-midfielder position, as evidenced by her 14 assists, Annis delivered multiple-assist games against Patrick Henry CC (Sept. 12), USC-Salkehatchie (Oct. 2), Wake Technical CC (Oct. 4) and USC-Salkehatchie (Oct. 15).
One of Annis’ most important assists came Oct. 29 when she passed to teammate Alaina Capps for the lone goal in the 80th minute of the Sea Devils’ 1-0 Region 10 championship game win over Spartanburg Methodist to send them into the District L title game this past Saturday.
“I felt coming out of such a small town, my options as to where I could play using soccer to help pay for school were very limited,” Annis said. “Now I have more experience under my belt, coming here having time to improve and be a better teammate. … I’m just happy I went this route. It has opened a lot of different opportunities.”
In the NJCAA Division I poll released Tuesday, the Sea Devils were ranked No. 15 after outscoring opponents, 104-8, on the season.
“Janessa is fast, she can attack and defend, she is dangerous once the whistle blows, and brings a real flair to the game,” Deppa said. “She continues to improve and continues to find ways to make us better. We are grateful to have her as a Sea Devil.”
Deppa credits a relationship with Silver Creek girls head coach Kevin Rice for attracting Annis to Wilmington.
“Kevin helped keep an eye on Janessa for us while she was at Frewsburg,” Deppa said. “Kevin and his daughter Emma actually came to Wilmington recently to watch her play.”
Now it’s up to Annis to decide where her next move will be.
“I have some options, but it’s still pretty early. I get emails pretty much every day with coaches inquiring about it,” said Annis, who will graduate with an associate of science degree in the spring. “I’m not really a home body. Being away from home isn’t a huge deal, but I wouldn’t mind going back up north and being closer to family. After my first year, they were so supportive and I got closer to them again. Honestly if I went somewhere that was a good school with a good degree, that’s the overall goal.”