The confidence inside FPD’s locker room had to be soaring Saturday afternoon.
Six straight wins against a tough slate of region foes and a big blowout to open postseason play can do that.
Touted as one of the best teams in GISA Class AAA, the Lady Vikings (16-2-1) are hopeful their long, winding journey toward a state championship can be extended this Saturday when they host Westfield.
“This takes some pressure off for us just a little bit,” striker Rebecca Miller said moments after her three-goal effort contributed to an 11-0 win over John Milledge.
Coming on the heels of an undefeated region schedule, the latest victory propelled FPD into this week’s quarterfinals, pitting them a mere three games from a state title. The Lady Vikings last won a championship in 2007.
Much of the success or confidence they hope to showcase the next few weeks could be the direct result of how well they fared in Region 2-AAA this season. En route to compiling a 6-0 region record over Mount de Sales, Stratford and Tattnall Square, the Lady Vikings outscored their area opponents 30-5.
“Well, being in a region with Mount de Sales and Stratford and winning games is great,” FPD head coach Joshua Trieste said. “We certainly have a lot of respect for Stratford and Mount de Sales, and we felt like if we ever beat them, it’s something big.”
Both Mount de Sales and Stratford return to the pitch this week, with Mount de Sales hitting the road Wednesday to take on Atlanta Girls School and Stratford traveling to Albany to face Deerfield-Windsor on Saturday.
Another key to the Lady Vikings’ success will be the fact that home field advantage is working in their favor, Trieste said.
“We felt like the one big X-factor, in the playoffs at least, is that we play at home,” Trieste said. “We like our field, we like our complex. Whenever you go out of town, you don’t know what to expect. So we feel like the biggest X-factor we have is playing local. As long as we keep winning, we’ll play local.”
He also wants his players to keep playing and to be constantly ready to play.
With the big win over John Milledge, Trieste was able to work in multiple bench players to give his entire team live game experience. That was his plan and could serve as an advantage later in the postseason, he said, if his team is forced into circumstances similar to those of a year ago. In last season’s championship, the Lady Vikings were forced to multiple overtime periods before ultimately falling to Westminster.
“The key (Saturday) even more than the rest — we have a week before we play — was getting them some game fitness,” Trieste said. “We were not trying to run up the score, but we wanted to get them all a good 55-60 minutes of time, because last year in the state championship, we went to two overtimes, and we need to make sure we’ve got our girls ready to go 110 percent if possible.”
This week’s playoff action
GHSA baseball, Wednesday
Redan at Northside
TBA at Jones County
Central at Appling County
Pierce County at Howard
Rutland at Troup County
Westfield at FPD, Friday
Tattnall Square at Deerfield-Windsor, Friday
Covenant at TBA, Friday
Griffin Christian at Brentwood, Friday
George Walton at John Milledge, Thursday
Young Americans at FPD, Saturday
Stratford at Deerfield-Windsor, Saturday
Mount de Sales at Atlanta Girls School, Wednesday