By Valentina Makrides
The rivalry has returned.
It is a new season which means that the fierce rivalry between the girls varsity soccer teams at Grady and Paideia has resumed.
A year ago, Paideia hosted the game at Python Park and enjoyed the victory, but when the two teams square off again at 5:30 p.m. on Monday night, Grady will host the game, and the Lady Knights hope the home team wins again this year.
At this point, the season is young, and both teams have only been officially practicing for a mere two months. But the Knights have been preparing for this game since they lost last year. They are ready to seek revenge for last year’s 5-1 blowout.
“We sat back and let them run all over us, but this year it is our turn,” junior captain Abby Orlansky said.
Grady (1-0-1) is off to a solid start after a 10-0 win against Creekside High School and two scoreless ties against The Lovett School and Allatoona High School. Paideia (1-2) meanwhile is off to a rocky start. After giving up 13 unanswered goals in season-opening losses to Woodward and Pius, the Lady Pythons shut out Tucker, 10-0.
If last year’s result isn’t enough to overcome, Grady also must play without some injured players and two more who are recovering from ACL tears suffered last season.
The game is just a regular-season game and will not determine who plays in the region playoffs, yet it still means a lot to the girls on both teams.
Starting forward and leading shooter Perri Bonner has been in a boot for almost a month due to a slight tendon tear and inflammation in her right foot due to overworking.
Although she will return in about a week, rested and ready to play, she is out for Monday’s game.
“It is very unfortunate that I can’t play in the game tomorrow,” Bonner said. “I have been looking forward to it since last season. Being on the bench is difficult, but watching my team beat Paideia will be so worth it.”
Bonner isn’t the only person on the Grady bench who is confident the Lady Knights can win the game. Her coach shares the sentiment.
“I want my girls to play well and show everyone what they’ve got,” Coach Thomas said. “They are capable of the win, and we have been working hard for them to get it.”
The outcome won’t be known until the game ends, but the pace will almost certainly be frenetic as both teams are likely to play with reckless abandon.
“As individual players we truly all are talented in various ways but when we come together it is a sight to see,” Bonner said. “With the heart we have been showing as a team through previous games I have full belief that we will beat Paideia on Monday night.”