The Granville Central girls soccer team has played some games they couldn’t lose, some they couldn’t win and some that were nail-biters in their early-season schedule.
But the formula has worked for fourth-year coach Gregg George – who doubles as the coach for the boys’ team in the fall – as Granville Central looks for its fourth conference title in as many seasons.
A 1-0 win at Hillside – which gave the Panthers (8-3-1, 2-0 Tar-Roanoke 1A) the series 1-0-1 after they had tied in the first meeting – was another of the nail-biters.
“We had a tough game with Hillside,” George said. “We had a bunch of chances and didn’t finish a couple of times when we needed to. But the defense held strong and our goalkeeper was excellent. We just had good motivation. We’re playing pretty well. We’ll play anybody from charter schools to 4A schools. We just want to play good soccer. What we’re hoping to do this season is to make the playoffs, host a first-round game, win it and see where it goes from there.”
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Senior Bailey Stec has been a primary leader for Central, with a whopping 18 goals and seven assists.
“I feel like we can make the playoffs and do well when we get there if we work hard enough,” Stec said. “We have a lot of good players who know how to move the ball. And I think we have a great atmosphere on our team. We really encourage each other. ‘G’ is an excellent coach who does a good job teaching us and motivating us. We just need to do a better job finishing.”
Sophomore Ashlyn Smoot has scored big for the Panthers, with 11 goals and 16 assists.
“Some of my teammates have had great assists,” said Smoot, who is also a setter for the volleyball team. “I’m working on my hustle. And Coach emphasizes for us to be better soccer players as well as better people on and off the field. The girls on our team really love each other.”