It’s been quite the season for the Habersham Central Lady Raiders soccer program.
As they hit the well-earned spring break, with no games on the schedule, Habersham and fifth-year head coach Melissa Carroll can reflect on what’s transpired to this point in the season.
At 6-5-2 overall, the girls have tallied their most wins since the 2011 season, and have already secured a top-four spot in the region, meaning they’ll make the state playoffs for only the second time in program history. Playing in a tough region the past few years has helped make this possible.
“We knew ending last season when we found out about the new region – we knew we could compete,” says Carroll. “We were excited; we were keeping the majority of our team — a big group of seniors. We were excited about moving into a 6-team region versus a 10-team region.”
Looking back, playing in the larger region with some of the top talent has finally paid off for the Lady Raiders.
“We’ve all worked so hard and it’s a great way to end out soccer career here — we’re all grateful for that.” -Senior Erin Byers
“We had been against the best in the state – we were ready for anything,” adds Carroll. “We were so discouraged the past four years with the region we were in, but it made us more prepared for this season.”
The excitement level of the girls, especially the seniors, is sky-high.
“It’s been pretty exciting for us, because the past few years we haven’t done so well,” says senior Lindsey Lewallen. “This is the best record we’ve had in a while, and the second time ever we’re going to state, so we’re all super happy about it.” Lewallen has signed to play at Maryville College in Tennessee.
Fellow senior Brooke Loggins, a Toccoa Falls College signee, echoes Lewallen’s excitement.
“It’s been really great — a lot of people didn’t really expect us to make it that far,” adds Loggins. “We ended up clinching a playoff [spot] and it was really exciting for all of us to experience that.”
The build-up to get to this point for the girls soccer program has been evident over Carroll’s time at Habersham. Over the past five years, the players who have come and gone helped guide this team to where it is now, not to mention the hard work the current seniors have put in over the last four years.
“Over the years we’ve had so many great players come through, and they’ve all deserved to go to the playoffs,” states senior Erin Byers. “We’ve all worked so hard and it’s a great way to end our soccer career here — we’re all grateful for that.”