Jefferson girls’ soccer coach Molly McCarty doesn’t mince words as her team faces a lengthy road trip for the second round of the playoffs.
“The mindset right now with the girls is survive-and-advance, or you don’t win and you don’t have another practice or a game,” she said.
Jefferson (12-3) will play at No. 3-ranked Northwest Whitfield — situated in the far northwest corner of the state — Wednesday (April 28) in the Class AAAA Sweet 16. With this matchup, the Dragons will have played three of the top four-ranked teams in Class AAAA.
Jefferson is no stranger to winning away from home in the playoffs. The Dragons won three postseason road games in 2017 and two in 2019 as the program reached the Final Four in both years.
McCarty reiterated the survive-and-advance mentality.
“If we lose, we don’t play another game,” she said. “Having that kind of mindset and having to adjust to us being the travel team, we’re used to it.”
The Jefferson girls’ soccer team cleared its first road hurdle of this state tournament with ease this week. Playing an overmatched Hampton team in the first round, Jefferson blasted the Hornets 7-0 Thursday (April 22) to advance to the second round.
Abbey Eison scored three goals and recorded three assists, while Molly Parker scored twice and Kate James and Savanna Jackson added one goal each. Mackenzie Tooke also recorded an assist.
Jefferson scored all seven of its goals in the first half.
McCarty said a number of other players stepped up in the win.
“Our defense and our center mids had a lot to do with that success (Thursday) night,” she said. “I could name every single girl that played and somebody contributed.”
McCarty noted that all four teams out of Region 8-AAAA advanced to the second round, including Madison County, which won its first playoff game in program history.
Jefferson will now shoot for its ninth playoff win since the 2016 state tournament when it travels to Northwest Whitfield.
“I’ve got to give our assistant coaches props because we all have met and discussed this to an extent that we’ve got everything prepared to go as far as we can, but girls have to follow that,” McCarty said. “They’ve got to do the work now for it. So, it’s there.”