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A tough, scrappy little team

I’ve written before about our soccer team but have never been prouder of them than I was Sunday afternoon. The nucleus of the PC Fury U15 team has been together for over 10 years. Our daughter Livia Lanier joined them five years ago. The girls have grown up together and are now beautiful young ladies and ferocious competitors. Travel soccer is like all other sports. Players come and go. Some girls get interested in other sports or activities and drift away. Others leave for what they perceive to be better coaches or teams, the soccer pitch being apparently greener on the other side of the hill. Sadly, some girls are cut from the team. Some acquire boyfriends and lose interest. The result has been a Fury team that never seems to have more than one or two subs on the bench. The girls now play 40-minute halves. Many of them play 80 minutes without a break. To say they are in shape is an understatement. If you have a young daughter and want to condition her, soccer is a wise choice. She will get in shape or fall by the wayside. Despite defections, multiple serious injuries and a lack of depth, the Fury clawed their way into Class B which means they earned their place as one of the top 25 U15 girls teams in Georgia. Coach Don Bohensky has trained this team since they were toddlers and it has paid off. He lives and breathes soccer. Jehu Jean-Pierre has joined the staff and been a big help. Jehu came to play at Gordon State College from Martinique before GSC abandoned men’s soccer. The Fury were in third place going into this past weekend. Top scorer Shelbie Bohensky was lost to a broken leg over a month ago. Still, the Fury hung in. On Saturday, they hosted the second place team from Savannah and lost 3-1 despite playing very well. In that game, key defender McKinley Bradley was lost to a severe high ankle sprain. It was the team’s first loss of the season. On Sunday, the Fury went to Norcross to battle its premiere team – the top rated team in the division. Norcross was undefeated and playing on their home pitch. Early in the match, Fury midfielder Hailey Hadsell was the victim of a dirty hit. She was knocked into the perimeter fencing. A Norcross player stomped her arm and broke it. The Fury, who had already called up three U14 players due to injuries, would play the rest of the game without a sub. And play they did. The Fury defense was stellar and goalkeeper Brooke Shavers had 10 saves in the net. The offense pounded and pounded the Norcross defense to no avail. They had one score called back on a controversial offsides infraction. It was a rough and tumble match. With about five minutes left, the Fury got a penalty kick from the bench sideline. Bean Butler lofted a beautiful, curving shot that settled into the top left corner of the net to make it 1-0. The defense held and undefeated Norcross had fallen. The Fury (5-1-3) are still in third place. The top two spots and a move to Class A are possible with two games left. No matter how those games go, I have never been prouder of any team and coaching staff as I was Sunday. You will hear more about these girls as they will round out high school squads at Pike, Lamar, Spalding and Upson-Lee in the spring. Most will start before their freshman seasons are over. They are Shelbie Bohensky, McKinley Bradley, Bean Butler, Brooke Fitzhugh, Bailie Garland, Livia Lanier Geiger, Hailey Hadsell, Whitney Hancock, Emily Ogletree, Brooke Shavers, Grayson Waits and Paige Wood. And look out for our U14 call-ups, too. They are Pacie Dye, Samantha Keel and Dana Claire Mangham. This is one tough, scrappy little team! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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