Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill girls steamroll into playoffs

In its final home game of the season the Fort Mill girls soccer team did what it has done all year - win another region game.

In fact, it's what the Jackets have done the past six seasons.

With a 6-0 win over Gaffney, the team moved to 10-0 in the region and stretched its region win streak to an astonishing 63 games dating back to the 2004 season.

Despite the impressive number, Head Coach Vic Johnson said the girls did not let the winning streak affect their focus or get in the way of their long-term goals throughout the season.

"That's one thing that's great about these girls, they kept their eyes on winning the region, which was our first goal," Johnson said. "We didn't even talk about the streak until our pre-game speech tonight."

On the field, the team calmly and methodically worked the ball around Gaffney defenders, spreading the field and scoring with a balanced attack. Team captain Taylor Parker opened the scoring when she converted a penalty kick early in the first half, followed a few minutes later by Sarah Bird, who had two goals on the night.

Whitney Becker, Becca Tooley and Kayla Hirsch also knocked in goals for the Jackets.

"This year, we've had a really solid midfield and a great defense," Johnson said. "Taylor Parker has been a big part of our offense, but every game different players have stepped up around her - Ashton Wolfe, the Tooley girls (Becca and Jessica), Madison Paff - they've all stepped up."

Fort Mill also made an adjustment to their lineup, adding three top JV players, Kristen Headen, Abbey Fisher and Taylor Phillips, to the varsity squad before the playoff run.

On the field, Johnson said he thinks the team is ready for the postseason.

"We don't want to change anything. Right now, I think we can play with anybody in the state," he said. "But we'll allow our play to speak for itself."

Tuesday's match was also senior night for the team's lone graduating member, forward Sara Borer.

Borer said although it wasn't a main focus, winning every region match in her career was a rewarding accomplishment.

"I couldn't be happier with the way we played," Borer said. "It feels awesome to say you won that many games in a row. We consistently worked hard. We just hate losing."

Borer said she and her teammates have been keeping their eyes on the big picture all season and now they are ready to focus on the playoffs.

"I really want us to win state and if not this year, they have a great chance next year," she said. "We've really pulled together, worked hard, and figured out what needed to get done."

Johnson said even as the only senior on the team, Borer's leadership has been invaluable to the group.

"She always comes in with a positive attitude and is willing to do anything for the team," Johnson said.

"That kind of leadership, putting the team first, you can't match."

The Lady Jackets are the top seed in the playoffs, which begins this week.