Some teams don’t take the time to think about where they’ve gotten, how they’ve gotten there or what is left to conquer to get where they want to be.
FPD’s girls soccer team doesn’t fall into that category.
The Lady Vikings are well aware of where they are, how they got there and what they need to do next to accomplish their goals.
Where are they?: two wins away from a state championship with an undefeated record.
How has it happened?: loads of talent.
What’s next?: Take down Augusta Prep in today’s semifinal round of the GISA Class AAA playoffs, earn a trip to the state finals and surpass Stratford’s mark of most consecutive wins in a season.
FPD head coach Josh Trieste admits doing a little Internet snooping, looking up Stratford’s storied soccer history to see what records the Lady Vikings can strive toward surpassing.
Oddly enough, to accomplish the feat of passing Stratford’s mark of 21 straight wins in 2005, the Lady Vikings will have to do it on Stratford’s home field.
“I let the girls know that this is the program, these are the records that have been considered almost unbeatable,” Trieste said of Stratford. “Obviously, (today) will put us at 22-0. If we can win that one, that’ll be great, but a 23-0 season is going to be hard for any team to beat because 23, 24 games is a lot more than a lot of teams play.
“It wouldn’t matter that Stratford had it or whoever had it, but now that we’ve moved to 21-0, we want to do better than that.”
Hardly tested throughout the regular season, FPD has put up some gaudy numbers to this point, taking the component of luck out of the equation. Trieste acknowledges that the opportunity to play for a shot at the state title is the product of having plenty of talent.
The Lady Vikings have allowed just four goals in 21 games, easily making goalkeeper Hannah Crawford one of the biggest reasons FPD has been able to remain undefeated.
On the other end, Kelsey Black leads AAA in goals scored with 24. Three places behind her is teammate Rebecca Miller with 20.
“There hasn’t really been a whole lot of a luck factor,” Trieste said. “We’ve given up four goals this year, and three of them have been on free kicks, so we’ve really only given up one goal in play in 21 games.
“But we’re still hoping that luck will slide our way if we need it.”
They may not need it for quite a while. Trieste said while his team has an abundance of talent, speed and the desire to compete, the biggest thing going for the Lady Vikings is youth. To be so successful with a young team starts years earlier with the junior varsity teams.
Both of FPD’s JV teams, Trieste said, are undefeated this year, as well, and that means that there is plenty more talent on the way. And that means focusing on another one of Stratford’s marks.
“It’s just a good period for FPD soccer,” Trieste said. “We look at those 10 straight state championship appearances for Stratford, and I could see us doing that for the next six, seven years.”
And while the numbers and circumstances certainly fall in the Lady Vikings’ favor, accomplishing a feat like matching or surpassing Stratford’s seemingly unreachable mark comes with a ton of pressure.
It’s perhaps the biggest battle they have faced all season with carrying around what seems like a huge target on their backs. Yet pressure seems to be yet another opponent that can’t get the best of the Lady Vikings.
“Our team, I feel like we’re all united,” senior defender Sara Elise Ham said. “We’re all one, really. If someone’s down, everyone will get down. If someone’s trying to put everyone up, everyone will be pumped up. We all feel for each other. Us seniors, we want to live out the rest of our season and win the championship, and I feel like everyone else is going to press on and play real hard just to help us succeed in our goals.”
5:30 p.m., today at Stratford