Revenge can be like candy. It can taste good to you but be bad for you. North Oconee High School’s girls soccer team has had revenge on their minds all offseason and it’s had a positive effect.
At the end of the 2019 season the Lady Titans went to Flowery Branch with their first ever appearance in the Elite Eight on the line.
Many of the Lady Titans felt they had it and were well on their way before the controversial ending to the game on May1, 2019.
An injured player from FBHS was treated and not removed from play and was allowed to come back into the game and scored the winning goal in the closing moments to eliminate the Lady Titans from the postseason.
Lady Titans’ head coach Ben Grassmayer found a way to get the Lady Falcons on the schedule. It acted as a crescendo. Early in the season, the unbeaten Lady Titans have won, but haven’t been sharp and as clean in their victories as they would like.
“After last year’s loss and everything that happened we were really looking forward to it and we were strategizing all week,” senior Calle Maughon said. “This is the game we knew was going to test us for the whole year.”
The Lady Titans were ready to go on Friday night. The Lady Titans defeated FBHS 6-1 behind two goals from Maughon and Kenna Kay.
The Lady Titans got their first goal within the first two minutes of the game off a fortuitous bounce on Maughon’s first shot of the game.
The ball was shot at the feet of the FBHS goalkeeper before it took a hope hit the post on the ground and rolled just beyond the line inside sending the Lady Titans into a delayed, almost stunned tizzy.
“If it’s a goal it’s a goal,” Maughon said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy and they were going to fight and we just had to fight harder and we did.”
The triumph doesn’t guarantee the program’s first Elite Eight appearance. It doesn’t even put the Lady Titans in the Class 4A state playoffs since it was a non-region affair.
For Lady Titans’ players it did wipe a little bit of the bitter taste from their the tips of their tongues moving into the rest of the season.
“It was a great win and it was the vengeance we needed,” Maughon said with a laugh.
Grassmayer wanted the Lady Titans to have their opportunity to send a message to the rest of Class 4A. The Lady Falcons are ranked sixth in the EUROSPORTscoreboard.com rankings.
For Grassmayer, Friday’s win was the statement he was looking for. The Lady Titans are a talented, but more inexperienced team in 2020 than they thought they’d be looking at their roster at the start of 2019. Injuries, graduation and moves have jettisoned some of the Lady Titans’ key pieces. They needed a bit of a boost and Friday, they got it.
“I think we sent a message to everybody,” Grassmayer said. “They’re going to have to respect us a little bit. The biggest thing is that it gets our girls to believe in themselves. We beat a very good team by a lot. This team has been scoring six or seven goals a game. We planned to mark their striker. Ansley Hall was given that mark and she locked down one of the best players we’ll play all season. The girls will walk into any game thinking they’re going to win.”