The East Jackson girls’ soccer season came to a close last Thursday, after the Lady Eagles fell 2-0 to Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe in the first round of the GHSA Class-AAA state playoffs.
While first-year head coach Ruth Collins said that the loss was disappointing, she heralded the overall season as a success.
“Making it as far as we did, especially with people telling us we couldn’t and wouldn’t was a great thing,” said Collins. “This season the team really started trusting each other and me. I saw them become more and more of a team as the season progressed. As a coach, win or lose, watching a player develop is a joy.”
The Eagles finished the 2013 season with an 8-9 (4-3 conference) record.
East Jackson will be graduating three seniors, all of whom Collins referred to as playing key roles on the field.
“Sheena McEachin, the backbone of the defense, will be missed for her leadership, skill and speed,” Collins said. “Also gone from the defense is Jasmine Motes. Jasmine’s hustle will be hard to replace. Chelsie Wegsend, our left wing, will also be missed.”
Collins will look to young players, Taylin and Anneka Cozzens to step up and fill the defensive roles of McEachin and Motes next year. Collins will look to Cilleian O’ Keeffe and Anna Bruce to fill the gap at left wing.
The Eagles will hold on to several experienced players, including Kristen Whitlock, Hayleigh Smith and Cassidy Steele.
Collins plans on conditioning next year’s squad in the offseason with workouts and skill clinics. She also noted that many of her players are members of recreation teams.
“With this being my first year as head coach, I did not know what to expect,” Collins said. “I am very pleased by the progress and success of the team. We will continue to develop and I am sure we will make it just as far next season.”
The East Jackson boys’ team was also eliminated from the first round of the state playoffs on Friday after losing to Cartersville, 7-0. Details of that game were not immediately available.
The boys’ team ended the season with an 8-9 (5-3 conference) record.