Girls soccer begins season with strong region results


William Randall

Sophomore Maddie Shaw dribbles the ball up the field. The Knights are 3-0 in their region matches so far this season.

William Randall

The girls varsity soccer team has begun its season with a 4-2-2 record in all competitions.

The team is filled with underclassmen; one being freshman center back Megan Scarano. While the transition from Inman to Grady has been tough in some aspects, she believes it’s been an overall positive experience. 

“High school soccer is definitely more intense, but all the girls have been super nice and welcoming,” Scarano said.

With the team being inexperienced and having a first-year head coach, the Knights are still working to get to know each other. 

“I’ve had to get to know the players and learn their skill level; that definitely takes some time,”  head coach Blair Barksdale said. 

Even with obstacles, like Covid-19, Barksdale is pleased with the team’s ability to persevere. 

“I’ve been super happy with their work ethic,” Barksdale said. “I’m pleased with how well they’ve adapted to everything going on.”

Like Barksdale, senior center back Ag Church agrees.

“I am super happy with the dedication people have to this team,” Church said. “In previous years, it was rare to have everyone at practice, but now, it’s rare to have someone missing.”

As the season has progressed, Scarano has seen major improvements mainly credited to more quality time with teammates. 

“[What makes this team great is] the social aspects of it,” Scarano said. “I think that aspect is helping us on the field; as we’ve played more and more together, we’ve gotten so much better.”

Barksdale has relied heavily on the team to not only perform but also speak up when something isn’t right. 

“Right now we rely on the starting 11 to really hash things out and figure out what positions are best,” Barksdale said. “I also rely on their ideas a lot. I welcome them to come to me when something isn’t working.”

Individually, Scarano relies on Church as her fellow center back. 

“AG is crucial for me,” Scarano said. “She just constantly talks to me on the field and makes sure I’m comfortable; it relieves lots of stress, knowing she’s behind me.”

Barksdale has noticed that players are buying into her system. 

“A lot of them have really stepped up,” Barksdale said. “They believe in the process, and by them believing in the process, it filters over to everybody else.”

With the team’s success however, junior Grace Porges notices issues in front of goal. According to Porges, the team has a strong defensive unit but lacks in offensive efficiency. 

“Tactically, we need to work on finishing in the final third,” Porges said. “We do a good job of working the ball up the field, but we can put it away as much as we would want to.”

In Scarano’s eyes, the team simply needs to work harder.

“We just need to be more focused,” Scaranno said. “[Barksdale] brings a level of intensity that we haven’t really reached yet.”

On Feb. 26th, the Knights had a strong result against Marist, tying them 1-1. Having lost to Marsit 7-0 the year before, the Knights were considered underdogs. 

“I think everyone played a strong game,” Porges said. “No position did better than the rest. We were really proud of each other and it was a really good boost of confidence and drive for the team.”

The Knights also played their first region game on Mar. 2nd against North Springs. The Knights dominated throughout, winning 8-0.

“We talked on monday and tuesday on how we needed to play like we did against Marist and they definitely did,” Barksdale said. “This was definitely a great way to start region play.”

The team once again had a strong result against Maynard Jackson on Friday, March 5th, beating them 7-0. 

“We kept the ball in the front half of the field for most of the game,” Scarano said. “Thankfully we were able to finish most of the chances we got.”