Lady ‘Dores soccer built for sustained success
OXFORD – Girls were crying, many of them describing the emotions of winning their first 5A State soccer championship as “surreal” or “awesome” or “speechless.” Lafayette’s second state title of any sport since making the jump from 4A to 5A two years ago, it’s no doubt a major stepping stone for the soccer program. However, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be serious contenders for the same trophy in 2020.
Of the 22 girls on the Lady Commodore roster, 18 will return next year. There were nearly just as many middle schoolers, three, playing for the team as there were seniors, four. It’s an incredibly young Lafayette squad with a ton of youthful talent. The team is built to win a lot of games in the years to come.
Offensively, the Lady Commodores scored 14 goals in four playoff games en route to their state title. Ten of those goals scored were by players that were sophomores or younger. The team’s top goal scorer Lucy Wilson, who’s hat trick on Saturday against Long Beach propelled the Commodores to their state title, is also a sophomore.
Head coach Melinda Scruggs acknowledged the youth of the team from time to time throughout the playoffs, but never wanted to add any pressure or expectations to the girls. Nerves and inexperience showed up occasionally early in games, particularly the first half of the north-half final, but the girls looked like seasoned veterans any time their season was on the line.
It took Lady ‘Dores just two seasons to adjust to playing in 5A. Scruggs described the title as “equally awesome” to the title they won in 2015 as a 4A school. The team has always played teams a class up or just better than they were. Therefore, moving up a class may have taken a bit of time to adjust to – they lost in the second round of the playoffs last year, their first in 5A – but the Lafayette girls have now arrived. And with the youth of the team, they likely won’t be going away anytime soon.
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