Lady Tigers set to take next step after title runner-up finish in dominant season [VIDEO]
There was not a more dominant team in the state arguably than the Commerce Lady Tigers. Exhibits include a 21-2 overall record, holding the #1 state ranking throughout much of the season, posting over half a dozen players on the All-State list, and finishing as state runner-up, as well as a goal differential of 171-19. Despite falling in overtime to Social Circle (region foes who beat Commerce in two of three meetings), the team recognizes the history it accomplished.
“It was a great season for the girls, especially after the disappointment of last year’s Sweet 16 exit” says coach Scott Tolbert. “I’m real proud of the effort they put in all season long – every game, maximum effort. Even the state championship game, that was an epic game. I couldn’t be more proud of how the girls played this season.”
The still-young team and still-young program (began in 2019) is reaching heights most programs take decades to reach.
“We are a very young team,” says junior Kate Hill, who posted 35 goals and 49 assists. “Ever since middle school, a lot of us have been playing together. It’s awesome to have that kind of environment.”
Hill points out that the communication and off-ball movement for the Lady Tigers are areas they have improved on and will continue to do so moving forward.
For players like Hill and Georgia HS Super XI honoree Ivy Tolbert, it all starts with not buying their own press or getting caught in the external hype.
“The outside-in is hard to [block out],” states Tolbert, who finished as the nation’s scoring leader with 104 goals and also had 42 assists. “It’s kind of trying to drown out the hype from the people around you as well as the fans and people from outside. It kind of inspires you more to know that you have to play to match that hype.”
The Lady Tigers rolled through the regular season, splitting with region foes Social Circle and finishing as Runner-Up in 8-A Public. In the playoff run, Commerce had little trouble advancing to the title game, and even beat region rivals Towns County in the semifinals before falling in overtime in the championship.
The team will return Tolbert, Hill, and Chloe Diaz (100+ career goals) among several others to anchor this team for the future. Another similar run – or dare we say, better – almost certainly will come!