Asheville Christian Academy defender Hannah Thornburg calls it “a great beginning to the end.”
Leave it up to the lone senior for the Lions to sum up their ongoing season in the best way.
ACA (6-0-2, 3-0-0) came into Tuesday’s home game against Carolina Day with the only unblemished record in Western North Carolina girls soccer.
The Lions only have three upperclassmen on their roster. Thornburg keeps charge of things in the back, and the team’s juniors are goalkeeper Sabrina Jones and midfielder Anna Otto.
“I’m really excited to see how this team does,” said Thornburg, who also plays basketball and volleyball at ACA.
“So far, we have proved that the hard work is paying off. I wondered how much work it would take to make it further than we did (in 2014). I think this is a team that could go far.”
That’s a bold statement.
ACA reached the NCISAA 2-A championship game for the first time in school history last spring, before falling to Cape Fear Academy in overtime, 2-1.
Coming into Tuesday, freshman Emily Grice led the Lions in goals (13) and assists (seven). Her breakaway score secured a 1-1 tie with Asheville High on March 18.
Sophomore Julianne Wanderwaak has added six goals, followed by sophomore Megan Rasku (four) and freshman C.J. Graham (three). Assists leaders outside of Grice are sophomore Rachel Sulaski (four) and Sasku (three).
Jones has made 31 saves and only given up five goals.
“We lost so many girls from last year and it’s such a different team,” ACA coach Terry Hughes said.
“But we’re going to keep plugging away and we’ll get down to the state tournament and let that decide it.”
The semifinals and finals of the NCISAA soccer tournament are scheduled for May 15-16 in Winston-Salem.