Montgomery Academy’s Garrett Barnes has adjusted nicely to her new role. Previously a defender, Barnes has emerged as the reigning two-time champion Eagles’ leading scorer in her new role as a forward.
She added two more goals in the Eagles’ 7-1 win over St. James on Tuesday in the second round of the Class 1A-4A girls soccer playoffs.
“I can probably put her anywhere on the field and we’d be fine,” MA coach Emily Barber said. “She’s got lots of speed, great touch and she can finish. The first couple of years I was here I used her on defense a lot and she was kind of our rock back there. We’ve swapped her out of the back and she can fly. You can’t teach speed.”
The Eagles (17-0-1) took it easy after building a 6-0 lead by halftime. Brenna Katz scored three goals, while Emily Garcia and Maggie Chambers each added a goal.
For the second consecutive year, St. James fell to MA in the second round of the playoffs. Senior co-captain Kelly Joyner put the Trojans (14-7) on the board midway through the second half.
It was an emotional postgame for seniors Joyner, Cassidy Alwan and Zay Kreher, as Tuesday’s loss brought their careers to a close.
“It’s a tough end to a good season otherwise,” St. James coach Charlie Brightwell said. “They’ve had unbelievable careers. It’s tough right now. The pain’s not going to go away today or tomorrow. But when they look back, I want want them to be proud of what they’ve done, because they’ve been the heart and soul of what this team’s been for a long time.”
Montgomery Academy continues its quest for a three-peat at home Saturday against UMS-Wright.
After facing familiar foes in Catholic and St. James in the opening rounds, Barnes is eager to play an unknown opponent this weekend.
“It’s interesting to play people from different parts of the state because it’s different competitors, whereas when you play Trinity or St. James, we’re familiar with the players, we’re familiar with how they play and you can prepare for that,” Barnes said. “When you play a different team, it’s a surprise. But we can just stick to our game, put out our hearts and see if we can win.”