Girls soccer targets championship with strong team


Devin Tabourn

Senior and co-captain Shay Bowman beats a Lovett defender and dribbles down the field. The Knights beat the Lovett Lions 2-1, winning their first official game of the season on Jan. 31.

Farris Duwayri


In a historic run last year, the girls soccer team advanced to the state championship, losing to Chamblee, which was later stripped of its title due to GHSA rules violations.

The girls enter the season having lost five seniors, but hope to replace them with growing interest from incoming underclassmen. Last year only 35 girls showed up at tryouts, but this year, numbers reached almost 50.

“This year we have so many girls at tryouts,” head coach Blair Barksdale said in early January. “We have 47, and that’s not including six that are playing winter sports. The depth of players [this year] will be a lot different. We will have a strong JV and a deep bench on varsity.”

Senior Hayley Chamberlain said the team is targeting good results and the atmosphere in tryouts was upbeat.

“I expect us to be successful this year,” Chamberlain said. “There are a lot of good girls, and all the girls are super excited for this season. I think we have a good chance of going all the way.”

Chamberlain wants to take a leadership role as a senior.

“Since this is my last year with the team, I want to help guide the younger girls and be more of an encouraging leader,” Chamberlain said. “I feel like my job this year is to set an example for everyone.”

Barksdale said she expects leadership from seniors and juniors to guide the team to another deep playoff run this year.

“My goals are getting far into the playoffs and to develop the Midtown program,” Barksdale said. “I know that there will be some stepping up from a lot of the juniors like Megan Scarano and Carolyn Harty. Also, Ella Gagnon, she started as a freshman last year, and I think ,as a sophomore, she will be more confident as a leader on the field, and that’s what I’m looking to see.”

Gagnon said the new influx of freshmen will help the team and reduce the impact of the loss of seniors.

“There’s a bunch of freshmen trying out this year, and I think they’re going to make up for losing seniors,” Gagnon said. “I think that they’re going to step up and help us this year along with the returning players who are making it a good atmosphere.”

Junior Allie Planeaux believes the seniors last year contributed to the championship run they had.

“[Seniors] were a lot of our starting lineup, and they were a lot of the reason we made it so far,” Planeaux said.

Planeaux thinks that losing last year’s senior leaders could impact the team’s energy, but they still have high goals.

“It’s gonna be different because there were a lot of seniors last year who brought a lot of energy to the team,” Planeaux said. “All of us want to go to state again this year. There are a lot of new people coming in, and I’m excited.” 

Chamberlain wants the team to work on its mistakes from last year and aim to win the championship.

“We will always strive to make it to the state championship,” Chamberlain said. “Our goal now is to figure out what we have to improve. We have the tools to improve. We have a hard schedule, but it will help us prepare for the playoffs, but when we play tough teams it will give us a better chance to improve.”