ATLANTA — The Alcovy girls soccer team’s historic 2023 season ended Thursday night as it suffered a 10-0 first round playoff loss to North Atlanta on the road.
It all effectively came to a close for the Lady Tigers on a North Atlanta corner that sailed into the top corner of the goal, ending the match.
Despite the outcome, Alcovy reached heights that the program had not seen since its current players were in either elementary or middle school. First-year head coach Ashley McHenry spoke of how such success is now the standard for the Lady Tigers going forward.
“[The playoff appearance] is big for us,” coach McHenry said. “It did not turn out the way we wanted it to turn out, but the fact that we are here is awesome for us. Alcovy has not been to the playoffs in the past six years and have not won more than one to two games during those years, so this is big for us.”
Alcovy’s playoff appearance was its first since 2017, and its six wins is the most in a single season since the Lady Tigers finished 9-9 in 2018.
McHenry shared how proud she was of the players for building chemistry that had not been there in years past.
“I want this team to be remembered by the chemistry they built and the heart that they had every single game no matter who they came up against,” coach McHenry said.
When asked about specific players who made an impact this season, coach McHenry spoke highly of all her players and how each stepped up to the challenges they faced on game days and in practice.
Coach McHenry made a note of singling out Zariah Strozier, who led the team in scoring as a freshman. Coach McHenry feels Strozier can be the future of Alcovy girls soccer as it plans to make the playoffs a yearly occurrence.
“She helped us out tremendously with our scoring. Not only helping us out trying to score [Thursday] but every game,” McHenry said. “She is an offensive player, but even in defense she is back there giving it her all and trying to help in any way she can.”
Though the Lady Tigers won more matches this year than the previous three seasons combined, coach McHenry didn’t mention any specific game as her favorite moment. Instead, she highlighted each practice that really brought this team together.
And, now that the season is over, 2023 appears to be just the start for McHenry and the Lady Tigers (6-5, 4-3). Their next goal is to make a return to the playoffs next year and go even further in the postseason. The coach believes that will happen with a balance of solid work ethic and continuing to have fun.
“I had a lot of favorite moments but just building that chemistry in practice. Every single practice I saw these girls giving it their all and getting better,” McHenry said. “We laugh and we joke, but we also work hard.”