In an essential match of sudden death, Forsyth Central edged Creekview 2-1 on the road Tuesday night to clinch a spot in the state playoffs, marking the first time the Lady Bulldogs will play in the postseason since 2010.
Despite compiling an impressive 12-3 record and 5-2 region mark, the Lady Bulldogs needed a victory in the opening round of the Region 7-AAAAA tournament to lock up one of the four qualifying spots each region has in the 32-team postseason bracket.
Central will face North Atlanta (10-3-1) tonight on the road in the region tournament semifinals, with the championship slated for Tuesday night. The remaining games will determine the seeding of the four qualifiers.
It's been a banner, turnaround season for the Lady Bulldogs, who won just six games last year. An influx of freshman has gelled with developing seniors to create what head coach Angela Camp hoped to see during the offseason.
“Last year, I knew. I saw the talent we had and knew as they got older and played together they were going to be something special,” Camp said. “Over the summer I met the freshmen coming in so I started seeing the pieces fitting together.”
Senior Kara Slaughter has facilitated the attack well for Central, while freshman goal scorer Callie Fagan has added power to the team's front line. Freshman goalkeeper Allie Strunk has also helped sure up the defense.
But it was the seniors on the team whose faces shined brightest after last night's result.
“Everyone set goals before the season, but to see it on their faces was absolutely priceless,” Camp said. “To see my seniors who have gone through some coaching changes, rocky seasons, to see them elated was unreal. They were so happy last night and as a coach that makes it all worth it.”
Camp said the team entered the year with goals to win five region games and defeat two of the three county opponents. An upset win over West Forsyth and a shutout over North Forsyth not only gave the team confidence early on, but solidified their belonging in the new region they'll play in next year, in which they'll face the other four county schools in league play.
“We take everything game by game,” Camp said. “But definitely, this year we have all of these goals and we wanted to set the foundation for the step up into that class. The team 100 percent agrees and wants it and believe they belong.”