Fairfield High girls' soccer coach Jackie Suchanek explains her team's 1-0 District 3 Class A quarterfinal loss against Lancaster Country Day as originating three years ago. The same team easily beat the Green Knights in a regular season game then, and she thinks the memory lingered in the minds of her six seniors.
"They were amazing," Suchanek said. "They destroyed us. I think we came out playing more cautious. I feel that we could have beaten them and we should have."
Still, she coached the Knights to their third consecutive winning season, the only such seasons in the nearly
decade-old program. They were 12-0 in YAIAA Divisoin III and secured the No. 2 seed in the district playoffs under Suchanek, the All-Area Girls' Soccer Coach of the Year.
She credited the award as a function of her team's talent. The Knights featured All-Area Player of the Year Lexy Junker, who had 42 goals, and seniors such as Toni Harbaugh, Erin Donaldson and Katelyn McDonald.
"She pushes us," Junker said. "The talks before the game just make us get focused and ready to go out there. She's definitely been a good coach ... She helps out a lot."
The Knights seemed to be least impacted by girls' soccer's move from the spring to the fall. They and York Catholic were the only teams in the division to post winning records.
"I thought we had a good chance division-wise to come in first," Suchanek said. "I thought we'd have more competition within our division. I think they got hit hard with people getting pulled and choosing to play field hockey and volleyball. Their teams were affected a lot more by the change to the fall. All the key players we needed came back."
She believes the switch helped her coaching. The Knights could do conditioning on an actual field, as opposed to a gymnasium, and they had more room for drills.
"Even though they're doing stuff in the summer, when they come in, they haven't just come off playing two different sports," Suchanek said. "They went right into the full season. Mentally, I think they were ready to go because they never really stopped. Building a team and keeping them at the level they were at in the spring was easy."
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