Battle tested Lady Indians eye region crown [VIDEO]
The Lady Indians soccer program has long been a force to be reckoned with. Since 2014, Lumpkin under head coach Don Brock has won over 100 games, including reaching the Semifinals in 2015 and Elite 8 in 2016.
The past two seasons have seen the Lady Indians reach the Sweet 16. This time around, with a massive senior class of 12, Brock is hoping his girls will be playing their best at the right time. The offense to date has 41 goals, well on pace to surpass last year’s total of 85.
“Hope Kenney is Hope Kenney,” says Brock. “She’s going to score goals. Ashley Read has stepped up and has become a real threat from anywhere. It’s been special.”
Lumpkin hasn’t shied away from stellar competition, as evidenced by a non-region slate that included games against state-ranked teams like Buford, Habersham Central, and White County. That stretch of games, which resulted in 3 losses and also a tie to Lakeview mixed in, was frustrating for a team not used to playing that way.
“It was really frustrating mainly because we all knew we could be a lot better,” says senior striker Hope Kenney. “After those three losses, we wanted to really amp things up.”
The girls rebounded great, reeling off three straight wins over East Hall, Cherokee Bluff, and North Hall by a combined 22-1. They sit at 3-0 in region play and 5-3-1 overall.
Brock, who built this program into what it has become, had a real message for his team following that tough stretch.
“You have to play like yourself,” says Brock frankly. “I don’t feel like we went into those games and played like our team. We let the other teams dictate the pace of the game. We have to impose our will. That’s not you, you’re better than that. It’s now or never. When we opened region play against Cherokee Bluff, they played clean.”
Kenney, the reigning BLITZ Player of the Year, set the single-season goals mark for Lumpkin last year, and is closing in on 100 career goals.
“I’ve had the opportunity to teach her in the classroom and coach her for these four years,” says Brock about his senior leader. “She really doesn’t want the limelight. She is a selfless player, she’s a hard-working player. To have a hard-working, humble player like that up top, it doesn’t happen often. I’m blessed.”
The Lady Indians’ other big-time playmaker has been Read, a junior who continues to up her game. She knows that other teams want to take them down, but rather than be discouraged by that, the team uses it as motivation.
“Lumpkin County soccer has just been one of the best teams in the region since before we came,” says Read. “It’s a bit intimidating, but it’s good to have a standard that you want to work up to. To be a team that every team wants to beat, it’s pretty great because you know that them beating you would make their season. We just have to stay humble.”
Feature Photo by Greg Finan, Jr
Digital Copy of Interview – Hope Kenney & Ashley Read
Digital Copy of Interview - Hope Kenney & Ashley Read
Digital Copy of Interview – Don Brock
Digital Copy of Interview - Don Brock