Lady Jags soccer ends their losing streak
The Lady Jags soccer team broke a five year losing streak with their 5-3 victory in a scrimmage game against Hart County on Jan. 27. They followed that by defeating Southwest DeKalb in a 3-0 match and Banks County by 6-0. After breaking the curse, the Lady Jags look forward to a historic turnaround for the 2023 season.
When the end of game whistle sounded off on the night of Jan. 27, cheers and screams roared up from the sideline bench of the Lady Jags.
“It’s amazing. I cried afterwards. It hasn’t happened in so long and we’ve worked so hard as a team. I feel like this year our team is really united, we have way more chemistry than I have seen on any other team that I’ve played on. It felt like a win for Cedar Shoals, for the underdogs,” team captain and centerback Lilly McGreevy said.
McGreevy spent the majority of last season on the bench due to a leg injury, but still attended every practice and game. Because of this dedication, she can spot differences between last season and the current team.
“Being able to watch the games and practices gave me a new perspective on the team spirit and how to handle a loss. It’s hard to keep your cool when you’ve lost every single game and haven’t scored, so it really taught me how to be a better team player. It just feels different than other years. Everyone wants to win more because we know that we can get it,” McGreevy said.
Previously, the Lady Jags faced issues with commitment and low interest. Settling into her second year as head coach, Alley Howell raised her expectations for the team’s practicing habits and performance.
“When I came in, my goal was to stop the skipping. You have to come to practice. We’re going to have consistency and communication. All of those are things that I think really make a varsity team get better, so I demanded that basically, everybody needs to be consistent and on time. Every practice you’re making a commitment to me, the other girls and the program,” Howell said.
Howell’s efforts to bring the team together and improve their performance also benefits the team off the field.
“Off the field we all have really good communication and we bond a lot. We’re all like sisters. We all make sure we have a good time and I think that all comes together in our communication and our chemistry on the field,” right wing Genesis Moreno said.
Despite their strong start, the Lady Jags aren’t letting their victories get to their heads by reminding themselves of their prior track record.
“It’s hard, but because we’ve lost so many games in the past we take each game one step at a time. We don’t go into each game thinking we’re gonna win, we look at the reality,” McGreevy said.
With stronger technical skills this season, the Lady Jags are prioritizing the mental side of the game over the more basic skills they were focusing on in the past.
“Last season we did way more on the technical side of things because we were lacking in technical skills. This year though, the crew that I’ve got on varsity are way stronger technically than any team that I’ve had here. So we don’t have to focus as much on that technical stuff. We can go more into game IQ, formations, passing patterns and things like that,” Howell said.
The work Howell and the Lady Jags have been putting in is paying off as they’ve won three out their first five games, losing 8-1 to Clarke Central and tying 2-2 with Winder-Barrow.
Regardless of what the rest of the season may hold for the Lady Jags, they plan to remain hopeful and focused on the approaching games.
“Our expectations are to hang with who we can hang with and beat who we can beat. It’s just really taking it game by game and putting our best foot forward no matter who we play,” Howell said.