Looking Back in Time: Girls soccer hopes to renew postseason success


AJ Summers

Girls soccer celebrating their 2022 conference championship

Holden Schmidt, Sports Writer

Winning isn’t everything, but it sure is nice. In 2017 the varsity girls soccer team were the queens of North Carolina, as they won the 4A state championship in a 3-2 victory over Cardinal Gibbons. Since that season, the Titans have continued their excellence with two conference championships and a state playoff appearance each season. However, this year’s team has one big goal in mind: get back to winning in the postseason.
The seniors on the team have yet to experience a victory during state playoff, as COVID-19 canceled their first season and the last two seasons have unfortunately ended in first round upsets. The girls are building on an overall 15-6-1 record from last season, during which they achieved a perfect 12-0 record in conference play, a feat they hope to repeat. This year’s team certainly has the talent to achieve greatness, but they will need significant production from several underclassmen to reach their goals.
“Hannah Hanes and Aislynn Maguire were both great standouts [last year] as freshmen. And we have several key freshmen who have come in and will take on key roles from day one,” varsity girls soccer coach Scott Bilton said.
The co-captains of this year’s team are midfielder Raegan Williams and defender Kate Schaffer. Both are seniors who have started on varsity for all four years of high school. The two are best friends off the field, but on the field they are leaders and role models for this young team.
“I try to set a good example on and off the field, be encouraging to everyone and keep a positive attitude,” Williams said.
Leadership may come from the team’s captains, but team bonding is a group effort and an equally important element in the success of the season. Whether it’s team dinners, bus rides before games or weekend trips together, the group is finally able to partake in team activities as normal without the fear of COVID.
“Even though last year was ‘normal’ because we were out of restrictions, it still felt like that was always lurking behind us. That there was something that could come up that would slow us down or something that just didn’t seem right. So my hope is that we can just be back to normal and be together as a team,” Bilton said.
The girls have already played their first three matches of the season, as they became champions of the Winston-Salem Soccer Spectacular Tournament. In the season opener they put their offensive firepower on display, in a wet and muddy game that was ended at halftime due to weather, with a 4-1 victory over Davie last Monday night. On Wednesday, the defense shut down any and all attacks, as the Titans allowed just one shot on goal in route to a 3-0 victory over Atkins. The championship match brought a faceoff against Reagan, and in what was supposed to be a tough match against their biggest conference rivals, the team cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Raiders.
“It’s been really exciting getting back into the soccer season. We won our season opening tournament and it felt great to share that moment as a team,” junior defender Abby Reutinger said.
While the 2017 Titans have left big shoes to fill, this group has everything it needs to potentially have a truly special season.
A winning foundation? Check.
A chance to finally play in a normal season again? Check.
A roster loaded with talent? Check.
Great leadership, an amazing offense and a rock solid defense? Check, check and check.
If this team can put all those things together on a consistent basis, then they will have a truly great team that may just make a run at replicating that amazing 2017 season.