The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 19, 2013

Athens girls soccer team benefits from tough schedule

By Jonathan Deal

— At this point last season, Athens was ranked No. 1 in the state, had lost just one game and was destined for another spot at the state finals. Fast forward a year later and AHS is ranked No. 5, poised for another run at state but with an 11-7-2 record.

The difference?

Look no further than a schedule crammed with games against some of the state’s top teams.

“They hated me for the first month,” said Athens girls head coach J.B. Hutchison. “All we were playing was 6A schools. For us, it really exposed weaknesses and things that we needed to work on. And it’s made us a better team now.”

Thanks to a new area format in the 6A classification, larger schools are now able to schedule games against Athens and other teams. Previously, 6A schools were locked into 8 team regions and could schedule few games outside of region play.