The Hinesville Gator Soccer Club finished the fall 2010 season with three teams going undefeated in their age groups.
Playing teams from the Savannah Celtics, Coastal Georgia Soccer Association, Effingham and Richmond Hill, the Gators dominated the Chatham County Soccer League.
As a result, the 10U boys, 12U girls and 14U girls ended their season in Atlanta at the Kohl’s American Cup last weekend with two Gator squads making it to the championship round.
The 10U boys went 7-0. The team scored 40 goals this season while giving up only six goals.
"This team is not about who is scoring goals," coach Jared Anderson said. "I’ve tried to keep the emphasis on teamwork and a good attitude this season and I think the results have been tremendous."The youngest of the Gator teams finished third at the Kohl’s Cup.
Coached by Kevin Brown and assistant Robert Harvey, the 12U girls went 7-0 as well while outscoring opponents 51-4.
"My defense has been trained to control the game," Brown said. "I have players that not only are impossible to get through, but can bring the ball up from the defense and score the goal. My top goal scorer on this team is a defender. My job as coach has been very easy."
Brown said the team was already well developed thanks to previous coach April Causer. He said he took guidance from coach Tom Sukaratana, "and following his guidance this team has become the top girl’s recreational team in the age group in the area."
The Gator girls won all three of their preliminary games at Kohls to enter the finals undefeated. Cecilia Graham dominated the field knocking in a total of seven goals over the weekend, and consistently scored from outside the box to bewilder the opposition with assists from Rebekah Cassidy and Mercedes Buckley.
Mackenzie Buckley and Shelby Long also scored. Defense was strong as was the case all season, with Madison Buckley, Madison Winn, Kaitlyn Anderson, Calista Clifton, Cierra Harvey and Mary Kathryn Whitney allowing only two goals in the preliminary round. The Gator girls lost in the championship round 2-0 against the SDY Jaguars.
Coached by Karen Higgason and assisted by Brandon Standard, the older girls went undefeated in the Savannah League as well to win their division.
Ending 5-0 in the league, the girls had 27 goals scored and allowed 5. Plagued all season by injuries and a subsequent surgery to key defender Megan Higgason, this team rose to the occasion and overcame the opposition. Higgason credits intense determination by her veteran team and overwhelming parental support for their successful season. Adjusting her game when needed and having players with the ability to move into other positions to cover injured players was critical to the team’s success.
The final weeks before the Kohls Cup, Higgason and Standard focused heavily on team unity, conditioning, and set plays. The team dealt with another blow at the Kohl’s Cup when Megan Higgason became ill and was not able to join her team on the field.
The coach made some adjustments and the team won each of their preliminary games without allowing a goal.
Before the final game, the Gators took a few minutes for devotionals and prayers, thanking God for blessings and the opportunity to play together. Being edged out in the final game 1-0 did not dampen the team’s spirits.
The coach said goalkeeper Summer Mehalko had her best tournament ever, being scored on once the entire tournament and only in the final game. Higgason said the defense was unbreakable with Catherine Wood, Cortney Welch, Kaylyn McEwin and Jada Key holding their line. Myesha Robinson, Samantha Garcia, Elise Letnaunchyn, Nakia Hunter, Alyssa Anderson and McEwin were aggressive on offense, keeping the opposition’s defense on their
Coach Sukaratana said he was proud of all the teams and coaches for this season’s accomplishments.
Next on the books for the teams is the spring 2011 season and a run at the Georgia State Recreational Championship. Registration for Gator Soccer will take place in January 2011. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.