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Soccer teams here to stay

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By Tommie Kendall

There were highs and lows. There were victories. Losses. Speed bumps. High-fiving moments. Injuries. Celebrations. Road blocks.

But along the way, regardless of what the scoreboard said, these players continued to make history and continued to pave the way for future soccer teams at Henry County High School. And when it was all said and done last week, they were just happy that they got the chance to play.

For the first time in school history, high school soccer players took to the fields this fall in actual varsity games. The HCHS boys’ team started a program from scratch in mid-July, while the HCHS girls’ team took a step up after playing a junior varsity schedule a year ago. Both teams ended their seasons last Monday night in the opening round of the 16th District tournament.

The Ladycats finished their inaugural season with three wins, 10 losses and two ties, and lost to South Oldham in the first round of the postseason. Meanwhile, the Wildcats finished with one win, eight losses and one tie, and lost to Shelby County in the postseason.

Don’t let their records this fall fool you — they had successful seasons for first-year programs going head to head against squads that had way more athletes and way more games under their belts. Both Henry teams were usually outnumbered, and the boys even had to play one game with just 10 players on the field and no subs. It was definitely a learning experience.

Coaches Shannon Snider and Jay Dunavin, along with all the players, have engraved their names (figuratively) in the history books as the catalyst — the ones who officially got the ball rolling though it was long overdue. The seniors — Kate Vegh, Miranda Hornback, Josh Clark, John Harp, Paul Leet, Zach Pennington, Zach Stamper, Timmy Ashby and Wade Hutcherson — played a key role in this milestone and should not be forgotten.

Now, it’s time for the two squads to move forward with their first offseason to prepare for another go around. The Ladycats return some key players, including a large group of freshmen that make the future look bright, while the Wildcats will look to replace seven seniors with some fresh faces. It should be fun watching it all unfold over the coming years.

There will be more seasons, more players and, hopefully farther down the road, more coaches. But these two teams will not be forgotten for what they were able to do. They held their own against tough competition and were able to come out on top a few times while achieving their main goal all season — being competitive.

At least, they can say with a sigh, they got the chance to play.

Tommie can be reached at sports@hclocal.com.