The Long County Recreation Department’s 12U girls’ soccer team won their district championship and made their first trip to the state tournament.
The team, who is coached by Karen Higgason assistant coach Rose Nadeau and Tim Manibusan, started their journey to state on Nov. 20 during the district competitions. The girls faced off against Wayne County in the first round and according to the coaching staff, the defense held the line the entire game.
Coach Higgason said the girls pushed up and attacked quickly.
“Alisyn Drotzur, playing goalie, was alert and ready but Mya Grey, Macey Higgason and Alinah Manibusan we’re taking no chances with Wayne County,” Higgason said. “They attacked and disrupted the ball fast. The strikers and minds were rotated to stay fresh and to be able to run this high pace game. Keniah Doomes was able to secure a goal assisted by Jadison McCurley in the second half giving Long County the win 1-0 and advancing to second round of districts.”
The second game was played Nov. 23 against Coffee County. Coach Higgason said they started off a bit sloppy but soon turned up the pace and scored.
“Keniah, Makaila and Myjah all secured a goal giving us the 3-1 win and the Georgia Parks and Recreation District 2 championship title,” Higgason said.
Higgason said they trained hard and scrimmaged several counties and in house teams to prepare for state.
On Dec. 6, the local Class C team traveled to Dalton for the state tournament. At state the 12U teams from District A, B and C were all combined for bracket play. That meant the Long County team would face larger, tougher opponents, Higgason said.
“Our first game was at 8:45 pm and the odds were against us from driving up that day, playing travel players and a county six times larger than ours, but we weren’t going down without a fight,” Higgason said. “I was the proudest I could be of these girls. We truly played as a team, every single girl contributed to that win.”
The game ended tied at 1-1 and the Long County team pulled out a win in OT.
On Dec. 7, the girls played Bartow County. Higgason the girls’ defense was on point.
“No one dribbled past, however one foul was called giving Bartow the winning goal,” Higgason said. “We took several shots but their goalie stopped every shot.”
Higgason said the Long County girls finished third overall at state.
“There were lots of tears and emotions,” Higgason said. “I can’t express enough how proud I am of these girls. The parents were so supportive getting them to all, the scrimmages.
“I just want the girls to know how incredibly proud I am of all of them and how proud of their growth and skills increase in just the short time we had them,” added coach Nadeau.
Higgason also thanked her coaching staff and the extra assistance of Coach Jerome Giron and Coach Tim Manibusan, who helped the team for a week while Higgason was being prepared for a future a bone marrow transplant.
“I was thanking God my transplant was pushed back few weeks,” Higgason said. “I was able to concentrate on the girls and the big games we had ahead.”