Girls Soccer Previews & Preseason Power Rankings – 2021

It was unfortunate the way 2020 went for spring sports, and girls soccer had a number of programs that never got to show what they were capable of. Take these preseason Power Rankings with a grain of salt, as no one really can tell where these teams lie since their full 2019 season.

#1 COMMERCE

HEAD COACH: Scott Tolbert
2020 RECORD: 8-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Yami Vasquez, Olivia Mitchell
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Chloe Diaz, Kate Hill, Abby Tolbert, Carson Hawkins, Ermay Vasquez, Rachel English, Maggie Mullis, Gabbie Deaton, Karis Allen, Kendall Peters, Hannah English
TEAM STRENGTH: “Adding nationally-ranked, DI prospect, freshman midfielder, Ivy Tolbert with DI prospect Chole Diaz and DI prospect Kate Hill makes this team lethal,” states Tolbert. “This deep team has an excellent mixture of senior leaders with a group of young and enormously-talented underclassmen.”
SENIORS: 5
OUTLOOK: “With the overall talent on this team, it should be in the Finals playing for a State Championship,” says Tolbert boldly.


#2 JEFFERSON

HEAD COACH: Molly McCarty
2020 RECORD: 9-0-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Margo Perry (GK), Ally-Kate Navas (CM), Valerie LaDue (CM)
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Tara Maxwell, Julia Brooks, Carter Drake, Abbey Eison, Savanna Jackson, Lanie McCarty, Ella Parker, Molly Parker
TEAM STRENGTH: Stamina and physical strength
SENIORS: 5
OUTLOOK: “We “GET” to do this! We “GET” to practice! We “GET to play!,” says McCarty. “We are excited to have our season and hope that in the days to come, we will grow stronger as a team because it is not how you start a season but how you finish it. #makeItcoUnt2021 – it takes “I” and “U” to make our season happen. Let’s make 2021 count. Our region is tough because we could have 4, top 10 state teams in one region – more than any other region in the state for 4A. Every game will be a learning opportunity.”


#3 LUMPKIN COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Don Brock
2020 RECORD: 6-3-1 (4-0 in region)
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Hope Kenney, Charlotte Cunningham, Katy Carroll,  Sierra Gerrells, Olivia Gilliland, Morgan Clark, Emily Lunn 
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Julia Finesilver, Cassidy Fuller, Ashley Read, Reagan Spivey, Emile Epperson, Nicole Limehouse, Rae Lynn Meyers
TEAM STRENGTH: “Well-balanced, seasoned players, high soccer IQ, ability to change style to their opponent,” states Brock.
SENIORS: 4
OUTLOOK: “We are looking forward to hopefully finishing the season this year,” says Brock. “We feel that our region will be very competitive and we are one of the teams that could walk away with a region championship, but it will be a challenge. We have a great number of players from each class and have some freshman that look to step up quickly. Can’t wait to get started!!!!”


#4 HABERSHAM CENTRAL

HEAD COACH: Jeff Labarbera
2020 RECORD: 5-2-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: McKenna Peaster, Lauren McIntyre, Taylor Acker
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Anna LaBarbera, Breelyn Carroll, Sydney Turner, Addie Penick
TEAM STRENGTH: “We are a gritty team who is hard working,” says Labarbera.
SENIORS: 5
OUTLOOK: “We have a very good group of core players,” adds Labarbera. “We are waiting for Basketball to finish as we have 4 who will come in and completely change our team’s dynamic. I feel that we will be pushing for a region title.”


#5 RABUN COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Brad Holcombe
2020 RECORD: 2-3
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Brendlyn Welch
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Lauren Barnes, Meghan Thompson, Ana Garcia, Savanna Sullivan, Kennlie Jamison
TEAM STRENGTH: “Strong, experienced group of seniors returning,” says Holcombe.
SENIORS: 6
OUTLOOK: “This is a very hungry group of girls,” says Holcombe. “The cancelation of last year’s season has sparked excitement and anticipation for this 2021 season. A lot of returning players and several new players to our program.”


#6 WHITE COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Megan Runkle
2020 RECORD: 7-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Cassiday Campbell, Hannah Gerrells, Alexis Pashkovets, Bella Ramey, Hope Thomas, Skylar Williams
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Leah Alexander, LaRue Cambell, Aubrey Dowdy, McKinley Jones, Sydnee Nix, Ansley Seabolt, Ada Smith
TEAM STRENGTH: “Experience,” says Runkle.
SENIORS: 9
OUTLOOK: “We were devastated when the season got cut short last year and feel blessed just to finally be playing the beautiful game again,” says Runkle. “We’re excited for our new region and look forward to a competitive season as we match up against more of our local rivals.”

#7 UNION COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Tim Hunter
2020 RECORD: 3-2-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Desaray Patterson, Mattison Ruff, Sadie Underwood 
“Desaray was a 3-time 1st Team All-Region player, and Madison was a 2-time 1st Team All-Region and 1-time 2nd Team player,” says Hunter.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Loralei Skinner, Melia Whitener
TEAM STRENGTH: “We will be a very young team this year but we have a lot of talent in our younger grades and in our feeder programs,” says Hunter. “Our defense looks to be a very strong part of our team this year as many of them are club players.”
SENIORS: 2
OUTLOOK: “Our outlook and expectations are always to compete for the Region Title and try to advance in the state tournament as far as possible,” adds Hunter.

#8 DAWSON COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Chess Hamby
2020 RECORD: 3-7-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Maggie Wright, Piper Wright, Molly Kitchen, Katie Clouse
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Molly Muenchen, Annie Gloeckner, Zoe Hill, Emily Varca, Addison Hoard, Raima Faille, Kenna Lebaron
TEAM STRENGTH: “This is a very hard-working and coachable group,” says Hamby. “They come to practice with a great attitude and encourage each other to get better everyday. We return a large portion of our defenders and will have to rely on them to limit the other teams scoring opportunities.”
SENIORS: 8
OUTLOOK: “We are looking to improve each week and develop as much depth as possible,” adds Hamby. “We have already been hit by the quarantine monster in preseason, so we are trying to keep everyone healthy and safe. We will rely on many different players to create offensive production. We can’t be one dimensional this year and will have to disburse the ball and create scoring opportunities for multiple players. We have an experienced senior class that we will rely on to lead us throughout the season.”

Molly Muenchen suffered a torn ACL in the offseason, and will unfortunately miss her senior season. She was a front-runner for BLITZ POY in 2021. It will be interesting to see how the team rallies around her.


#9 TALLULAH FALLS

HEAD COACH: Travis Mullis
2020 RECORD: 1-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Abby Peacock
“Left back Peacock was a strong leader and set an example of great character for the 2020 team,” says Mullis.
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Honora Kahwach, Kat Williams, Addie Higbie, Sydney Coffee, Fendi JeanLouis
TEAM STRENGTH: “We have experienced soccer players at all positions,” states Mullis.
SENIORS: 2
OUTLOOK: “I expect the 2021 team to be competitive in the new region,” says Mullis. “With experienced players at all positions after basketball season concludes, it’s only a matter of time before success is found.”


#10 TOWNS COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Clay Livingston
2020 RECORD: 1-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Jedi Arraz, Kaitlyn Davis
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Sarah Shook, Jayden Taylor, Miranda Spain, Kenzie Livingston, Rylie Livingston to name a few
TEAM STRENGTH: “Biggest team strength is character and work ethic,” says Livingston. “We don’t have anybody that plays soccer year around, but we do have some hard working kids who are very gritty.”
SENIORS: 3
OUTLOOK: Look for Towns County to remain in competition, as usual, in Region 8-A.


#11 STEPHENS COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Erin Fleming
2020 RECORD: 3-2
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Liz Adams, Isabella Morrow, Dale Cleveland
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: Bri Wortman, Riley McCollum, Gabby Morrow, Jordyn Vena
TEAM STRENGTH: “Cohesion on the field,” states Fleming.
SENIORS: 8
OUTLOOK: “This season we are focused on developing team chemistry to dominate on and off the field,” says Fleming.


#12 BANKS COUNTY

HEAD COACH: Maranda Parks
2020 RECORD: 2-5-1
KEY PLAYERS LOST: Vada Bowden
KEY PLAYERS RETURNING: N/A
TEAM STRENGTH: N/A
SENIORS: N/A
OUTLOOK: No information was provided on the outlook for the Lady Leopards in 2021.


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