For first-year Augusta Prep head coach Forrest Wimberly, the girl's soccer season hasn't started out according to plan.
"We played a game last Tuesday and had three players knocked out of the game," he said. "This is the smallest Augusta Prep squad we've had."
The injuries continued to increase in the early part of the season at Augusta Prep. Wimberly has had to start inexperienced eighth-graders as two seniors, Katherine Yort and Susanna O'Koula, sit out with injuries. Fortunately for the Lady Cavaliers, there are still no lack of goals.
Those are coming off the foot of senior team captain Monica Ploetzke.
"I'm almost using her as an assistant coach," Wimberly said. "Without her we'd be 1-6 right now. No doubt."
Instead, Augusta Prep started the season with a 4-3 record and, with wins in two of their last three games, the Lady Cavaliers entered the week with a record of 6-4. Ploetzke has a total of 15 goals in those 10 games, including four scores in the team's first region win at John Milledge Academy on March 7.
The scores also include two game-winning goals and a game-winning assist.
Wimberly said it's no secret Ploetzke is their go-to girl. In fact, the entire Georgia Independent Schools Association knows it.
"Opponents are always saying double team No. 8," he said. "She turns it up anyway. She's been the difference for us."
Ploetzke's efforts have saved the Augusta Prep soccer season while her teammates recover from their injuries. As a humble, hard worker, she won't quickly admit that fact. However, she did reveal a secret from her past that's helped in her success.
"When I was little they didn't have a girl's club team yet," Ploetzke said of her home in North Augusta. "I played club on the boy's team until I was 13.
"It helped me a lot because I had to be tougher and quicker because of the speed of play."
That early training helped this past weekend when Ploetzke scored two goals in the Lady Cavaliers' 6-5 win over Heritage Academy.
The win, combined with a loss on Saturday, gave Augusta Prep a 1-1 record on the weekend. It also marked a weeklong break for the Lady Cavaliers, who won't play again until Saturday.
"The break is coming at an excellent time," Ploetzke said. "We're going to iron out some kinks that we realized we had this weekend. Plus this next game is a must-win for us."
Augusta Prep will play host to Central Fellowship at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Augusta Soccer Park.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.