The girls’ soccer team started off the 2017 season by “writing a new chapter.” The phrase coined by coach Steve Gandee is one that the team is very familiar with. During the preseason, the girls worked hard to get stronger, faster, and generally just better. Their hard work has paid off immensely as they are now having their first winning season in a long time with a record of 11-1.
“Preseason was harder than any other year that I have been here. I think it really got us prepared,” junior Taylor Kennedy said.
“We had a lot of conditioning; we ran, and ran, and ran. We worked on defensive skills and shooting, but most importantly we worked on our team chemistry. We are in a lot better shape and we get along a lot better than most teams,” senior Presley Fisher said.
The girls are led by co-captains and seniors: Grace Bumpus, Presley Fisher, and Maisie Stout. The new coaching staff consists of Gandee and Tonya Carpenter.
“I really like the new coach, he really knows soccer and how to motivate our team and each individual on it. He takes his time to watch other teams and prepare us for each game.” Fisher said.
Gandee had been coaching soccer on and off since 1997 and continuously since 2006. Gandee decided to coach the girls’ team because the future of the program was uncertain and he believed he had something to offer it.
“Coming into the season I was looking to build on the recent success that the program experienced in the previous year. We reintroduced two-a-day practices and more discipline,” Gandee said. “For this being my first high school team, I have got a good bunch. It is really nice when you have good, coachable players that listen and try to carry out a plan you put together.
It is only halfway through the season and the girls have already beaten their record of wins from last year. So far, the Lady Vikings have only been scored on six times, but in return, they have scored 65 goals throughout the season. They have also had 9 total shutouts, which according to Taylor Kennedy is more than they have had in her all her years playing combined.
“Our ultimate goal is to go to states, but we have already accomplished things that we haven’t since probably my mom played,” Kennedy said.