Women’s Soccer Headed to District Championship

Women’s Soccer Headed to District Championship

GMC Women's Soccer (10-7-1) Earn a spot in the NJCAA District Championship by winning their first-round playoff game against South Georgia State 3-1.

In an up and down season, the GMC's Women's soccer team proved that believing in the process and sticking to your plan is what leads to success.  After going 2-4 in October, including loses to soon to be playoff opponents not too many on the outside thought GMC would be playing in the NJCAA District Championship but all you had to do was look in the eyes of the players and coaches to know they had no doubt.

After a stellar job recruiting Coach Morgan had assembled a breath of talent, she even mentioned: "…this could be the most talented team we have ever had." But talent alone doesn't win games. On a soccer field, 11 players have to meld into one unit and putting all the pieces in the right place is critically important. The coaches shifted players and tweaked formations most of the season until they found the right mix and that patience paid off.  After going 1-4-1 in the regular-season matchups vs. South Georgia and Gordon the playoff version of the Bulldogs rattled off a 3-1 against South Georgia but came up one goal shy in the championship against Gordon. The loss makes them the third seed and they will face the winner of the South Carolina region next weekend in the District Championship Tournament.

To earn a spot in District the Bulldogs had to defeat South Georgia State. The Bulldogs were 1-2 against the Hawks during the regular season including 2-1 loss on October 8th.  The Bulldogs were primed, looked sharp and focused as they exited the bus ready to play. However, they were tested early and a defensive lapse put them in a 1-0 hole just three minutes into the game but their confidence never shuttered. They closed the half with three unanswered goals and held the Hawks to just two shots in the second half to cruise to the victory. Ani Springer got the scoring started after a foul gave the Bulldogs a free kick deep in the Hawks end. Springer ripped a shot over the wall into the top left corner to tie the score at 1. Emma Snider then collected a cross from Abbie George just inside the 18 and fired it home for her league-leading 16th goal of the season. Carson Griffin got on the score sheet after stealing the ball from a Hawks defender just outside the 18 and found the back of the net. Lindsey Mathis made four saves in her first start in some time.

 The Bulldogs now had their sights set on defeating Gordon College. The Bulldogs are 3-6-2 over the last 11 matchups and had not beaten Gordon since 10/18/2019. The games are always hotly contested, 12 of the last thirteen meetings ended tied or with a margin of 1 for the victor. The Bulldogs knew this was going to be a battle. The 90-minute bus ride from Milledgeville to Barnesville went by in a flash and the team could not have been more prepared. In a conversation with Coach Sendek after the win against South Georgia,  I commented that no one seemed excited that they won, his response…"They expect to win, that is the culture we support in this program."  That culture was evident again as they went through warm-ups, no one was rattled, stressed or nervous at least on the outside. They looked like a well-oiled machine ready to get what they came for.  It was cold and wet but the game went as games versus. Gordon usually do, two talented teams scratching and clawing for every inch of space. Gordon snuck one past keeper Havyn Isaac in the 23rd minute and Gordon was able to fend off a barrage of attacks by the Bulldogs to hold on for the win.

The loss while tough to take gives the Bulldogs a more favorable matchup in the first round of the District tournament and pushes a potential matchup with powerhouse #2 ranked Eastern Florida to the championship game.  The District tournament will be played at Gordon State on Nov. 8-9.