“We only have two seniors on the team, one junior and everybody else is either a sophomore or freshman,” Forest Park soccer coach Kim Bird said. “Many of them haven’t really played soccer before so I’m extremely pleased with the progress the girls have made this year.”
Last Friday, the Lady Panthers (8-6) moved one step closer to being the undisputed “Queens” of Clayton County with a 1-0 victory against Lovejoy.
“This one was a sweet one for us because we’ve never beat Lovejoy before,” Bird said. “I got two seniors on the team and it was just a big day for them and the whole team.”
Junior forward Alondra Magana scored the lone goal late in the first half en route to Eva Guerrero recording the shutout.
“It was a good day for my defense and my midfield too,” Bird said. “They also had better control over the ball.”
Now, if the Lady Panthers can add to or maintain a 1-0 lead against Mundy’s Mill on April 17 (the game was suspended early in the second half due to inclement weather on March 18), they will sweep the county competition.
“We have every full intention of being the county champions this year,” Bird said. “We’re pretty determined to get there.”
“This will be good because the team has come a long way since the beginning of the season,” Magana said.
Forest Park also had plans of reaching the state tournament again but that was derailed due to the competition in Region 4-AAAAA.
“We have four of the top teams in the state in our region which is not a good situation to be in at any point in time,” Bird said. “We got a very tough draw this year.”
Unfortunately, the Lady Panthers had some forgettable outcomes against McIntosh, Northgate, Whitewater and Starr’s Mill this season.
“When we played the top teams in the state, we just set goals for ourselves and our biggest goal was to improve upon the mistakes we continuously made,” Bird said. “I saw a lot of improvement with the girls. They realized the errors they would make when they played a very fast and very competitive team.”
Last year, Forest Park had a 12-4 overall record and a 7-2 region mark.