IRONDALE- The Shades Valley girl’s soccer team rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat Gardendale by a score of 3-2 this past Thursday. The victory ended the regular season on a high note for the Lady Mounties. Valley is currently on a four game win streak.
This season marks the third year in a row that Valley has advanced to the 6A playoffs under head coach Troy Cable. Shades Valley will face Homewood, the number one ranked team in 6A, Thursday.
Team captains Ashley Leon and Hope Migwi have been the foundation of the Valley team all season. Along with Leon and Migwi, Aaliya Carter, Caileigh Moose and Bella Kulczycka stepped up at critical times for Valley. Cable calls them “the anchor point” of the team.
The Lady Mounties, 10-5, played a challenging schedule this season. Valley’s losses were to Hewitt-Trussville, 4th in 7A, Indian Springs, 9th in 6A, Mountain Brook, 5th in 6A and 7A Chelsea.
“The thing that has made this team successful is they have one heart,” Cable said. “They are absolutely in it for each other. This team is not about just one player. When one hurts, they all hurt, and when one excels, they all excel.”
Leon echoes her coach’s assessment. “I felt the joy in helping out each day to make us a better team,” she said. “I love how the girls communicate with each other, not only on the field, but off of it. We try to keep each other close as a family.”
“I love being a part of this team because we are a family and always support one another,” said Migwi. “We have cried, laughed, sang, and even experienced similar injuries, but always overcome our challenges together. Our team’s positivity and our coaches’ constant support has helped all of us strive to work hard, even when times are hard.”
What the Shades Valley team lacks in depth, they make up in skill, conditioning, selflessness and toughness. Cable, a retired Marine Lt. Colonel and Shades Valley’s JROTC instructor, stresses mental toughness and conditioning. “Coach pushes us to become better players and to be a better team. He always puts us in the right mindset and really encourages us to excel,” said Vanessa Hernandez. “We have improved so much, and we are like a family.”
Goalie Karma Fitzpatrick summed up the spirit of the team. “Being a part of this team means getting to have fun and enjoy soccer,”she said. “This season has meant getting to enjoy the sport and getting to bond with teammates.”
Our team has been incredibly blessed to have such a successful season! Since conditioning, we have all gotten to know each other quite well. Personally, this season has meant so much to me, especially since I am an IB senior and team captain.