AUGUSTA, Ga. – Khaliyah Bibb has had a memorable four years as a soccer player at Grovetown High School.
As a freshman, she helped the Warriors to the Elite Eight. As a senior she helped the Warriors win a region championship with a game-winning goal. She totaled 21 goals her senior season and helped Grovetown host an Elite Eight game this season.
But of all those accomplishments, she says the best part was playing alongside three classmates who built unbreakable chemistry throughout four seasons together.
“It’s honestly amazing,” Bibb said. “I grew up playing with those girls, so we kind of split up throughout the years, came back together and it’s just amazing that we got to do it here and finish it here in high school.”
Though Grovetown’s season ended Thursday with a 4-0 loss to Cambridge in the Georgia High School Association 6A quarterfinals, Bibb said she wasn’t disappointed. Instead, she was glad to be able to bring her senior season full circle, back at home for one final time.
Bibb, Kaylie Bierman, Alecia Simmons and Emily Wintrobe provided heart and leadership for the Warriors throughout their four years.
“It starts with the four seniors we had. … They’ve just been phenomenal since they started at this school,” Grovetown coach, Kenny Curtis said. “They’ve had leadership throughout the whole four years since they’ve been here.”
Bierman, though four goals did get past her, managed to make key saves on Thursday night. What could have been more lopsided than the 4-0 line on the scoreboard, was thwarted with multiple stops in front of goal.
Throughout the game, Bierman made multiple stops on her line, bailed her defense out quite a few times and kept the Grovetown faithful loud and active the entire game. Even with Cambridge’s pace, Bierman didn’t let that affect her game.
“These girls are going to be hard to replace,” Curtis said. “… Kaylie has been a leader since she walked on this field in the ninth grade. Alecia, Khaliyah and Emily, they’ve all been leaders.”
Early on, Simmons and Bibb paced the attack for the Warriors. Between the two attackers, they scored 38 times this season, with Simmons complementing Bibb’s 21 with 17 of her own. Anchoring the defense was Wintrobe.
It was a season that saw many positives from the Warriors.
They recorded 13 wins, defeated Heritage for a region title, and hosted three playoff games – the first time Grovetown hosted playoff games.
It was a bitter end to a season with a lot of positives.
Bierman’s career will continue at University of North Carolina Wilmington. Simmons will continue her collegiate career at Limestone University and Bibb will play at Jacksonville University.
All season, Bibb said she had to uphold that reputation of being a Division-I commit. That fueled her to go out and score every chance she got. Her will to win did the rest.
“Just motivation to win, the hype to win and want to show out and be good,” Bibb said. “Kind of how a little bit of a reputation to uphold, but just having fun and when you score and everyone’s cheering for you, it’s fun.”
She said she wasn’t always the goal-scoring threat she became known to be. Early in her career, she balanced athleticism with her skillset. Before high school, she was able to succeed with her athleticism. At the high school level, she had to sharpen her skills to continue to thrive.
After that, success followed.
But Bibb never looked at it from an individual standpoint — it was more about building a bond with her teammates. She said that’s the foundation she hopes the group laid for the Grovetown program to build on.
“Soccer is one thing, but if you don’t have a bond, you’re not going to get anything out on that field. And hard work and motivation,” Bibb said.
“I know the result wasn’t what we wanted, but we didn’t give up the entire game and that’s what I’m proud of.”
And with her high school chapter closed, she’s looking forward to starting that all over again at Jacksonville University.
“With the bond here, I’m really looking forward to building a new bond there,” Bibb said, “and maybe making a name for myself down in Jacksonville and I can’t wait to start.”