by Jack Nowland/Lion Staff
The Girls Soccer team has started off their season strong. They currently have five wins, four ties, and no losses. On top of that, they are 4-0-0 in the region, and rank second in the state of Georgia for AAA, only behind rival Westminster.
Heading into the season, head coach Will Lozier had high expectations for the team. “We knew we would be a solid team with a chance to get to our fifth straight Final Four,” he said. “We have a lot of young, skilled, and hungry players along with a big group of upperclassmen with lots of tournament experience, many with state title rings.”
So far, Coach Lozier is pleased with the way the team has performed. “I would say we are exceeding our expectations this early in the season,” he said. “Our draw against Decatur was a bit confidence booster while wins over defending state runners-up Buford (5A) and Pace (3A) have shown us a glimpse of our potential.”
Senior Elizabeth Beveridge is also optimistic about the team so far. “I think we have really bonded as a team and work well together in all aspects. So, with that being said, I’m optimistic for the state tournament and I think we can do well if we try our best and keep working,” she said.
Despite their early success, there have been a few challenges as well. “One challenge has been finishing our shots. There has been a lot of games we should have won that we tied because we couldn’t finish,” said Elizabeth. On the bright side, the “defense is so strong,” as Elizabeth put it.
A big part of that strong defense is goalkeeper, senior Suzanne Hollis. Last year, current Carnegie Mellon goalkeeper Heitho Shipp started over Suzanne, but that doesn’t mean she has no experience. “Suzanne Hollis started a State Final as a freshman, part of a team that narrowly lost to a strong GAC team 1-2 in 2014. She has plenty of experience,” said Coach Lozier.
The transition has been fairly easy for Suzanne. “I started during my freshman year so it's pretty comfortable,” she said. “Also, the team is really well organized and I know the playing style of the girls really well, so I can adjust to our defensive strengths and weaknesses.”
Coach Lozier feels the same way. “This is not really a transition at all,” he said. “While we graduated a DIII player, we fill that slot with an excellent shot stopping keeper who has the confidence and experience to do great things.”
Coach Lozier has been very impressed with the way Suzanne has played so far. “Suzanne has four shutouts and had kept a clean sheet for over 300 minutes at one point, conceding only 4 goals in 8 matches,” he said.
Along with Suzanne, Coach Lozier named Elizabeth, Schuyler Simons, Megan Tinkler, and Chandler Kenny as some of the most consistent players on the team. However, he has seen many good things from other players too. “We have had different players step up in every game, some unexpectedly, to contribute in so many different ways,” he said.
Even with eight more games to play, the four region wins sets the team up in a good position for the playoffs. If they keep playing at the high level that they started the season with, winning another ring is a possibility.
When asked if she thinks they can win state this year, Suzanne responded “I don't want to jinx anything, but I will say we are excited about the season and our outcomes playing AAA teams so far. I think our biggest challenge will be Westminster, but we have a lot of potential going into the state tournament.”