Bend it like a Lady Spartan
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Ponytails, white jerseys and green socks. This is the scene of soccer stadiums across Memphis as the White Station Girls Soccer team marches into each one of their matches.
The 2016-17 season is in the books for the girl’s soccer team. Ending with a 10-6-1 record, the Spartans experienced one of the best seasons they have ever seen.
“I feel like this season was our strongest season,” varsity goalkeeper Grace Balsam (11) said. “The team was connected on a personal level and an athletic level. We were stronger and more confident than our previous seasons, and despite some heartache, we had one of our best seasons because we proved that we were strong enough to compete with all of the high schools around Memphis.”
Mike McGuire, the junior varsity head coach who assists in coaching the varsity team, feels that the girls not only had a successful season but also that the team has improved significantly since past seasons.
“Both teams played extremely hard and had noticeable improvement throughout the season,” McGuire said. “The main thing that Coach Tom and I ask of the girls is to continue playing in what is the school’s off season. By continuing to play, the girls will continue to improve.”
Overcoming the obstacle of playing many hard-hitting competitors such as Houston and Collierville multiple times this season, the Spartans won their TSSAA district to continue into the regional playoffs. Despite losing their first game in the playoffs, the team still enjoyed an incredibly fruitful season behind senior leaders Alex Harber (12) and Caroline Crocker (12).
“The teammates that stood out to me the most were Alex Harber and Caroline Crocker,” Balsam said. “Both of these girls are seniors this year, and they stepped up this season. I’m so happy that I got to play with them as they finish their high school career.”
Harber, who joined White Station soccer in the 2015-2016 season, was a consistent stand-out player in the time she played for the team. Despite only playing six games as a Spartan in the 2015-16 season, dealing with obstacles from the TSSAA athletic board, Harber continued to be a strong teammate and leader on and off the field.
“Considering I was new last year at White Station, I just loved getting to grow closer to my teammates and making new friends because it’s hard to do that when you’re just starting out in a place, and they welcomed me so easily,” Harber said.
Graduating in May along with her other senior teammates, Harber has committed to continue playing soccer at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. The experiences she had as a Lady Spartan, however, are long from being forgotten.
“I will just miss going to practice every day and getting ready for games,” Harber said. “I will miss everyone and the many ways we tried to get out of doing the full warm-up.” As for how the team will perform next year, many of the younger players now are confident in their abilities to improve and excel. Behind junior stars Caroline and Grace Duncan (11), the 2017-18 season looks very bright for this Lady Spartan soccer team.
“I believe that next year’s varsity team will be the best team yet,” Balsam said. “We will be physically strong and mentally united, and I believe the third year of Coach Tom will be the lucky year because we will work hard for our goals and be a successful soccer team in Memphis.”.
Winning a district championship and exceeding the expectations of many are two major accomplishments of the 2016-17 season that have helped build for future seasons of girls soccer at White Station. With a consistently strong, relentless attitude built around teamwork and progression, this Lady Spartan Soccer team is set to break boundaries in Memphis high school soccer for many seasons to come.