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Anthony Fernandez and the boys’ soccer team have been endured a lot of challenges during their time at New Albany. Playing for three different coaches in as many years and falling short of a state championship appearance, Fernandez said that one of the toughest moments came in losing in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Fernandez said that last year was the first time he played on a team that did not advance out of the first round of the playoffs, and that was motivation for this year. Fighting through various struggles this season, the Bulldogs were again challenged on the road, playing at Germantown on Tuesday.
Not to be confused with the Germantown in the Memphis area (because this has come up in conversation over the last three days), there is a Germantown High School in Mississippi, around the Madison area, and they won their division this year.
I spoke primarily to Fernandez about this game, because, like most of this season, he has paced the Bulldogs’ offense, and he scored all four of the goals in the 4-2 overtime win. Despite the intimidation factor of playing on the road in the first round, Fernandez said that the Bulldogs’ appearance in the north half finals a couple of years ago serves as motivation that they can do it again this year.
“It was intimidating, but we told ourselves we could do it,” he said. “Two years ago, like this year, we didn’t win the division, but in that season, we made it to the north half finals. We’re constantly reminding ourselves of what we accomplished that year, and that we can do it again.”
The Bulldogs will host Pontotoc in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday at Kitchens’ Field. The Warriors have defeated the Bulldogs twice this season, but with the way they have played, particularly in the last week, it could be a very exciting match.
A spot in the north half championship is on the line, and for Fernandez and the Bulldogs, they are one step away from matching the best finish the team has had in the postseason.
I’m looking forward to watching another fun match at Kitchens’ Field. Good luck to the Bulldogs!