Susanne Rogers said she didn't expect Lakeside High School to reach the level of success it attained a year ago.
Lakeside High School's Susanne Rogers is in the Athlete Spotlight.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Rogers was a key contributor in the Lady Panthers' run to the state championship soccer game in the 2004 season. With Lakeside having graduated most of its starters, she thought it would be foolish to expect to sustain that level of play.
"I'm realistic about this season," she said. "I know last season was a once-in-a-lifetime shot. This year, I just want to have fun."
Now, Rogers' expectations have been altered as Lakeside has jumped out to a hot start.
Lakeside (4-0-2) tied No. 7 Woodward, which was ranked No. 1 at the time, in the season opener and followed that with a nonregion win over No. 6 Greenbrier. The Panthers have since knocked off Cedar Shoals, Baldwin and South Gwinnett and tied No. 7 (Class AA/A) Athens Academy.
"I'll tell you what, I was very surprised," Rogers said. "We were so young coming into the season. Now everything has gelled. We're better than I'd thought we'd be. Everyone has stepped up."
More uncertainty surrounded the team when coach Donny Rogers left after the 2004 season. He was replaced by Lakeside alum Chris Newman.
"(Newman) is getting the handle of coaching girls," Rogers said. "I imagine it has been pretty tough to never have coached girls and then be thrown into this situation."
It has been easier for Newman having scorers such as Rogers and sophomore Ashley Wray.
"Those two girls are phenomenal soccer players," said Newman. "They have a nose for scoring goals."
Rogers, who already has signed with Georgia Southern, has netted seven goals in six games thus far, including both the goals in the 2-0 shutout of South Gwinnett.
The senior said she has tried to be a strong leader to her younger teammates and has had to crack the whip earlier this year.
"One game, during warm-ups, a lot of girls were goofing off and playing around," she said. "I had to tell them to be more serious. I'm the kind of player that likes to focus before a game.
"I want everybody to have fun, and we all do, outside of soccer. I just want to be a good leader and make sure we reach our potential this season, because this is my last chance."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.