During the past two years, Indian Land Head Coach Mark Bonda has watched the girls soccer team grow into one of the top 1A programs in the state. After finishing with an 8-8 mark two years ago, and an 11-5 record last year, the team, Bonda said, is ready to make a run at the state title.
"We have eight returning seniors - all starters," Bonda said. "This year we have a talented team. We're just trying to harness it."
As one of only a handful of 1A girls teams in the area, Indian Land will play a number of larger schools, as they typically do every season, including Nation Ford, South Pointe and Rock Hill.
While some losses against larger schools reflect in the teams' final record, the experience is crucial in preparing the Warriors for the latter half of the season against 1A playoff teams, Bonda said.
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"We were undefeated against 1A and 2A schools last season," Bonda said.
Last season, the Warriors used their late-season momentum in the playoffs, defeating Greenville Tech in their opening playoff match, 3-1, but falling to soccer powerhouse Christ Church in the second round, 4-1.
With the entire defense, including senior goalkeeper Brittani Kronquist, returning from last year's team, Bonda feels like this is the year for the team to improve on last season and make it deep into the state tournament.
Kronquist said she is looking forward to working with an experienced team during her final season at the school.
"We have a lot of good talent this year," she said. "Since it's my senior year, I want to make an impression on the younger girls, give them something to look forward to, and a state championship would be nice, too."
As a goalkeeper, Kronquist said she aims for shutouts each game. She put up eight shutouts last season, a number she said she would like to beat this year.
Working in front of Kronquist will be all-area defender Brooke Adams, also returning for her senior year.
"We're working together really well so far," Adams said. "We're aiming to beat playoff teams, and on defense, we're helping Brittani with those shutouts. She likes shutouts."
Adams, who transferred from Andrew Jackson High School two and a half years ago, said she is looking forward to the April 9 match against her former school.
"I always want to beat them. Otherwise I hear a lot of trash talk," Adams said.
The Warriors are off to a good start, beating Lancaster in their first scrimmage last week, 3-2.
The team has one final tune-up, next Monday against South Pointe, before opening the regular season March 5 at the Wateree Kickoff Classic Tournament at Lugoff-Elgin.
2009 Indian Land Girls Soccer Schedule
March 5@ Richland Northeast*March 5@ Nation Ford*March 6@ Ashley Ridge*March 9@ Chester
March 13 Chester
March 16@ Broome
March 18 South Pointe
March 20@ Greenville TechMarch 25@ Rock Hill
March 27 Ninety-Six
March 30@ South Pointe
April 1 Rock Hill
April 3@ Ninety-Six
April 6 Broome
April 7@ Lewisville
April 9 Andrew Jackson
April 23@ Andrew Jackson
April 28 Lewisville
May 1 Greenville Tech
*Wateree Kickoff Classic at Lugoff-Elgin