It was evident that the Greene County Lady Tigers wanted to send its five seniors out with a win. Because, on senior night last Tuesday, the entire team had their best performance of 2021.
Though the team fell short in its 5-3 loss to Washington-Wilkes, there was a lot to celebrate for Greene County.
For instance, it is admirable for the players to perform with so much heart and passion amid a tumultuous season.
The task of winning became more daunting, too, when considering they fell down 4-0 within the first 20 minutes of the match.
But the Lady Tigers fought on. And their head coach knew exactly where their motivation stemmed from.
“I think you can link it back to classic home-field advantage,” Smith said. “All of their families were in the stands and they were playing for them. And I really saw that bleed through.”
The Lady Tigers received contributions from everyone.
Whether it was a scrappy save from goalkeeper Taylor Barnes, the hat-trick from Amber Higdon or an assist from Paulina Macias, each play, goal or save kept hope alive for this team.
None of the players seemed to quit or hang their head.
And, for a team that’s returning eight of its 14 players next season, they can use this year’s senior night as a building block.
Which is what Smith plans to do. “We discussed this game and how it made us feel,” Smith said. “Now, we need to figure out how to compound on that to get even better. I was really happy to see the younger players experience that little bit of success.”
All in all, last Tuesday can be viewed as a step in the right direction for this Lady Tigers’ program. After all, Smith has said all year that this season was about building a foundation.
The grit and determination the team displayed last week can help make for a brighter future in Greene County girls soccer.
And it all started with the five seniors who were recognized prior to the match.
Maucias, Higdon as well as Zoë Lawrence, Katerria Rowland and Samaria Robbins all received recognition for their contributions to the Lady Tigers’ program.
Though Smith recognizes that the seniors will be hard to replace, he is optimistic that their influence will live on.
“These five seniors didn’t just play leadership positions on the field, but off the field as well,” Smith said. “They’re leaders in soccer and in the school. Which is great for the younger players to see and say, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do to get the team running like a well oiled machine. That makes it obvious to the younger players of what they need to do to step up in the future.”