Ask Harlem's top three female soccer players how they're doing this season and they'll offer a humble reply.
"We're doing OK," senior Christie Hart said. "It's not that we're really good. We just haven't played anyone yet."
The Lady Bulldogs might not have the toughest schedule in Class AAA, but their 8-1 mark entering the week is still the best girls soccer record in all of Columbia County.
It's also the team's best start since the 2004 season, when the Lady Bulldogs finished 20-2 and ranked No. 6 in the state.
This year, Harlem is 7-0 in Region 3N-AAA play, including a win over region rival Thomson last Friday.
All the success has come despite losing two top players from last year's team.
"We lost two of our stronger players, but Christie and Whitney (Martinez) have stepped up this year," Harlem girls soccer coach George Berry said. "They're the reason we're 8-1."
Hart and Martinez, the team's starting senior midfielders, have kept the Lady Bulldogs' winning tradition alive.
Goalkeeper Megan Morgan has also done her part. The junior didn't give up a single goal in Harlem's first four region games.
"She's saved so many goals for us," Hart said. "Especially in the Thomson game, if it wasn't for her we would have been in trouble."
Morgan made seven saves in the 3-2 win over Thomson, and Martinez scored a goal and an assist. Hart also had an assist, and the region win put the Lady Bulldogs in first place in the Region 3N-AAA standings.
"It's a team thing," Morgan said. "When it comes to soccer, (Hart and Martinez) are in your face. They're the leaders."
In the team's first nine games, the Lady Bulldogs haven't had much trouble on the offensive side of the ball. The team is averaging almost three goals per game.
Hart and Martinez are the two leading scorers.
"I love playing defense, but this year, since we lost so much on offense, I've had to do that more," Martinez said. "I didn't really expect us to do as good as we are doing now. It's really surprised me this year."
As dominant as Harlem has been, Berry said the real test begins today. Harlem will face Aquinas (8-4) in a nonregion home game.
"We're going to find out how good we are then," he said. "We've done real well so far."
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