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Valley girls soccer wins program’s first game

Valley High School formed its first all-girl soccer team three years ago. After a winless inaugural season and a season cut short because of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rams picked up the program’s first win on Thursday night in a 7-4 victory over Russell County.

“It was extremely exciting. The girls were struggling to keep their composure when I asked them to after they won,” head coach Alex Harber said. “They basically erupted into the locker room.”

Along with being the program’s first victory, Thursday’s victory increased its record to 1-1 in area play.

Six of the 18 girls have played in the program since its inception, also playing a year or two on the co-ed team their freshman or eighth-grade season.

“It was a pretty big, emotional moment for them,” assistant coach Gary Harber said.

Coming into Thursday’s game, Valley had scored just five goals in program history, but working on the fundamentals and learning more about the game helped Valley secure its first program win.

“I think it’s just a testament to the girls and all their hard work,” Gary Harber said. “I make them focus on a lot of the basics. We probably have a lower skill level because most of the girls haven’t played soccer, so we focus on the fundamentals and getting those right. Those started to get right in the first game. They’re really looking forward to building on it, and they’re really looking forward to the next game too now.”

Sophomore Whitleigh Bright scored four goals in the win.

“She scored four, and if we counted beautiful shots that just skirted past the bar that didn’t go in, she could have brought the team up another three goals,” Alex Harber said. “Just her speed and her utility is just absolutely absurd. She’s one of the more natural athletes that I’ve ever seen.

Emma Williams added two goals while Cayden Peacock scored one.

With the program still being fairly new, as it has played 17 games in its history, the Rams are starting to connect to the game more than before.

Alex Harber used starting wingback Trinity Guice as an example.

“She’s another track star like Whiteigh. When we did tryouts, that was the first time she ever played with a soccer ball,” Alex Harber said. “She always had her placing right but maybe until two weeks ago, she never really connected how to kick a soccer ball. Then, something happened. Now, if the other team has a breakaway toward our goal, it looks like the other person is walking when Trinity is coming up behind her. It’s absolutely crazy to watch. When we played Opelika, she was the only one that was keeping pace with those ridiculously fast girls.”

The Rams play their next game on Tuesday, March 9 at Opelika.