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Rouch Column

Posted: March 24, 2012 - 11:06pm

The latest coaches polls from Georgia PrepCountry.com are out, and once again Columbia County schools are well-represented across the board. But before running down the list, I’ll start with a notable absence.

Despite starting the year 8-0, outscoring teams 53-4 in that span, the Harlem girls soccer team is nowhere to be found in the latest Class AAA poll. Maybe coaches who actually vote haven’t seen this team play.

I caught their act for the first time last week. They have a number of talented players, but what struck me most was the way they meshed. Going down the road, their opponents will have problems focusing on just one person to stop. Shut down senior Jade Cotton, and you still have to deal with Olivia Fitzgerald, Christina Rentas and Karrie Sanders, all sophomores, just to name a few.

What’s really impressive is that of the 11 starters, six are sophomores and one is a freshman. Kudos to coach George Berry for putting together what appears to be a truly unified squad.

In baseball, Harlem remained at No. 9 in Class AAA and Greenbrier remained at No. 1 in Class AAAA, despite losses for each.

In Class AAAA soccer, the Greenbrier boys jumped four spots to No. 4 while the Greenbrier girls remained at No. 8.

The Greenbrier girls also moved up a spot in tennis, coming in at No. 7.

How much stock should we take in these polls?

I think the real measuring stick comes at the end of the season when coaches and players determine for themselves how successful they were. Success can be measured with wins, losses and championships won, but it shouldn’t be the sole criteria.

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Comments (4)


With all due respect, Harlem

With all due respect, Harlem girls soccer is not ranked because they have not (and do not) play any good (or ranked) teams. Their schedule is very weak. Being 8-0 in their Region is not very impressive. Looking at their post Region schedule, they play no team of any talent. That is why they are not ranked. Why doesn't their coach schedule tough games? That would prove how good they really are.


Again, Region 3AAA proves to be weak

Harlem beats up on Thomson. Westside beats up on Grovetown. Richmond Academy beats up on Josey. Region 3AAA is weak. Where are the articles about real girls soccer programs like Greenbrier, Lakeside or Evans. Richmond got beat up by Evans. Westside got beat up by Greenbrier. Heck, Harlem doesn't even play another Columbia County team (except Grovetown). Can anyone tell me why Harlem doesn't play other Columbia County teams?


Are you dumb?

The Harlem Soccer Team plays just as hard as anyone else. And for all of those "Real Soccer Programs" you speak of, I've seen them play before and they're usually the most disrespectful high schoolers that I've ever seen.


Not dumb, just asking the tough questions

No one is questioning how hard these teams play. I'm sure every team that plays every night plays hard and plays to win. Harlem, Richmond, Westside all have great records in Region 3AAA. Congratulations to them all on great seasons. I'm sorry (and not dumb) if anyone took offense. Mr. Rouch posed the question as to why Harlem is not ranked. The answer is simple, Harlem plays a weak schedule. They do not play any tough teams. Besides their weak Region games, they play Lincoln County twice, Laney twice and Westside three times. Richmond is not very good either, but kudos to them for scheduling tough teams (Evans, Aiken, North Augusta, Aquinas and some tournament teams). Westside was bold enough to play Greenbrier and good for them. Playing easy teams does not make a team better. Having an undefeated record, but doing so while playing easy teams is strange. Why doesn't Harlem play better-stronger teams.

Why is Harlem not ranked? Why is Richmond not ranked? Why is Westside not ranked? Because they play in a weak 3AAA Region. Ranked teams are ranked for a reason: they play tough schedules and win against tough teams.

So, here is my olive branch: I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I was not making fun of your team or any team. I was just giving my comment to the question to Mr. Rouch posed: Why is Harlem absent from the Top 10 rankings?