The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

The Student News Site of Stratford Academy

Stratford Gazebo

Varsity Girls Soccer Team Looks to Make a Name in GHSA

The girls varsity soccer team started practice this week with a new head coach.

One difference quickly emerged: running.

On Monday, there were suicides with cones and the ball.

On Tuesday, there were hills and full-field sprints.

On Wednesday, more suicides and trivia.  Wrong answers resulted in more running.

Coach Kate Blankenship graduated from Stratford in 2006 and played midfielder and goalie.  Blankenship later played goalkeeper at the University of Alabama Birmingham, and also served as an assistant coach on Stratford’s 2011 state championship team, as well as at both UAB and Indiana State University.

She replaced Coach Andrew Myler, who left to become head of school at St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I’m excited to have Coach Kate as our coach this year. I know she’s super intense and will make us work hard, but I think that will be good for our team. We have a really tough schedule and I think she’ll prepare us for the competition while still caring for us,” senior goalkeeper Morgan Maier said. “Our previous coach was a lot more laid back and didn’t really believe in running, which Coach Kate is pretty serious about.”

“I think Coach Kate will really push us to play our hardest every game and every practice. She’s not the type of coach to take a day off — she’s ready to work every day to make us better,” freshman Ellie Peterson added.

Blankenship said she is looking to bringing new energy to a soccer program that has a long tradition of success.  Last year’s team finished 14-2 and lost tJOUR 379o Augusta Prep in the state championship game.

“The goal for us this year is to compete for a state championship. I think that should be a goal every year. This program has a lot of talented players and we certainly have a shot to be competitive in the GHSA,” Blankenship said. “Year in and year out we want to compete in the area scale and state scale. We want to play a difficult schedule even if that means not coming out with the best record. I just really want to build a culture of hard work here at Stratford.”

Moving into the GHSA will allow Stratford to play more local schools in the Macon area like Houston County and Warner Robins — schools that wouldn’t be on the schedule in the GISA.

“I think competition in the GHSA will be very difficult. We’ll go into every game not knowing much about the other opponent. We’ll be playing close to home and have high competition — which I think is great for the Middle Georgia soccer community,” Blankenship said.

This year’s team has six returning seniors who will look to be leaders for their younger teammates.

“We have a big senior class and I think it will be important for all of them to step up and be leaders. If you can get the seniors to all buy into the season and set an example then it’ll be tremendous for the underclassmen,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship and her players said they are excited about the upcoming season and are confident about the team’s ability to work hard.

“I think the seniors will be a big help to our team this year. When the seniors step up and play hard it makes everyone on the team want to perform our best too,” Peterson said. “Our team has a lot of potential. If we compete in our games and practice hard everything else will fall into place.

“We will build from the basics. We’ll start defensively and make sure everything is good on that side of the field. Then we’ll build into a dynamic attack and threaten in multiple ways,” Blankenship added.

The girls varsity season kicks off their first game on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Perry High School.


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Varsity Girls Soccer Team Looks to Make a Name in GHSA