Lady Eagles honored for strong season

Seniors, from left, Alaina Finn, Sonia Hernandez, Destiny Kieu and Maribel Nieto, are honored at the awards ceremony.  

By Brandon Bush

brandon@msgr.com

 

The Lady War Eagles were honored last Wednesday for completing a solid 2018 season.

The Putnam County girls soccer team held an awards ceremony on May 23 in Putnam County High School’s Black Box theatre. Several individual awards were given out to players who made the biggest impact on this year’s team, which finished 9-7-1 (4-2 in Region 8-AA) and made it to the state playoffs this season.

“This time last year, I was trying to put a positive spin on a not-so-successful season,” Putnam girls soccer coach Brandi Barling said.  “This year, I didn’t have that problem. This year was a tremendous improvement from our 7-12 finish last season.”

The Lady Eagles’ improvement from last season included a number of achievements. After finishing last in First Presbyterian Day School’s Viking Cup Tournament the year before, the Lady Eagles earned the runner-up spot this season by defeating Strong Rock Christian and First Presbyterian Christian Academy, both by scores of 1-0. The Lady Eagles also had two 10-0 victories this season; one over Lake Country rival Greene County and the other during a region match with Monticello.

One of this team’s biggest accomplishments, however, was defeating region foe Oglethorpe County in an early game this season by a staggering score of 6-0. That win was significant because not only did the Lady Patriots go on to finish 14-4-1 and win region this season, but they also competed in the GHSA Class AA state championship on the girls’ side, falling 9-0 to state champion St. Vincent’s in the final round.

Despite all their achievements, however, the Lady War Eagles fell in a hard-fought game against Rabun County that cost them an opportunity to win the region. Putnam’s final game came during the first round of the state tournament where the Lady Eagles fell to Model High School, 3-0.

Regardless of the unfortunate end of the season, the Lady Eagles have a lot to look forward to next year.

“[Assistant coach Peyton Roth] and I are so proud of this team and how far you’ve come in just one season,” Barling said to the team. “What makes us more excited is that we get to have another go at it next year. There is so much potential sitting in this room and every year we are getting better.”

Barling wrapped up her opening speech by sharing that, in 2017, the team only scored 33 goals while giving up 88. This season, it scored 45 goals and allowed 39, marking a huge improvement.

The award ceremony took a lighter turn when sophomores Isabella Chamberlain took over to give out “Paper Plate Awards” to the team. “Paper Plate Awards” are lighthearted accolades given out to each member of the team to highlight a desirable trait about their personalities.

The ceremony concluded with all those who lettered in soccer this year receiving their patch before individual awards were given out. The “Golden Boot” award was given to Chamberlain for leading the team in goals this season. Madison Stockdale was awarded “Most Improved Player” for having a breakout year this season while the “Hustle Award” was given to Madelyn Peacock for her effort on the field.

“Best Defense” was given to Carysta Taylor for her success on the defensive side of the ball this season. For being a leader and contributing to the team both on and off the field, Sonia Hernandez was given the “War Eagle Award.”

The ceremony wrapped up with special recognition of this year’s seniors. Barling, who became head coach four years ago, said she had grown up with her seniors and parting with them would be difficult for her.

“Seniors, we’re going to miss you,” Barling said in closing. “Underclassmen, I hope you can mimic the work ethic these girls put into every practice and every game.”

With a season of improvement and achievement behind them, the Lady War Eagles are ready to become a force to be reckoned with in GHSA Class AA as they prepare to make another run next season.

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