‘We’re part of history’: Augusta Prep boys and girls soccer enter state semifinals
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Augusta Prep Day School boys soccer team no longer has to feel like it’s in a shadow.
For years, Augusta Prep girls soccer has been synonymous with success at the state level. If the Cavaliers girls team wins Friday in the Georgia Independent School Association semifinals, it will return to the state championship game for the sixth time in eight seasons.
Much of that time, the boys team has watched the girls team thrive.
This year, it gets to join the girls team in Macon.
The Augusta Prep boys soccer team ended a near decade long streak, defeating St. Andrews 3-2 in the quarterfinals to return to the semifinals for the first time in over five years.
“We’re a part of history,” said Nathan Koehler, a senior centerback for the Cavaliers. “We’re one of the five to make it in our 67 years of being a school. That’s a huge milestone for our school and I’m super excited to hopefully get to the finals.”
Virgina Chew, a senior centerback for the girls team, is excited to share the experience on the field with the boys as well.
“I’m excited. I don’t think they’ve made it to the final four for quite some time and being able to watch them and just have both teams down there, cheering on each other will make everyone even more excited and work harder,” Chew added.
Koehler said the boys team started to turn a corner a few years ago. In recent seasons, the boys team would dip out of the playoffs in the first and second rounds. The past two seasons – not including 2020, which was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic – the boys team slowly worked its way to multiple playoff wins.
There was no specific moment when things changed — it simply was cohesiveness.
“I think it was team chemistry,” Koehler said.
And now the Cavaliers boys team (13-4) has a chance at a state title. And to get to to the state title game, they have to get past Holy Spirit Prep, who’s entering the game with just one loss.
Later on Friday, the boys will get a chance to cheer on the girls, who will play Atlanta Girls’ School.
For Chew, who’s been to the state championship game every year since she was a freshman, said the expectation is for them to compete deep into the playoffs.
“I think it is expected by the school, by coach Tom (Norton). It pushes us harder to know that we have to make it to the final four, which I think is a good thing,” Chew said.
Playing in the state championship game this year would be special to them because Norton felt last year, before the season was cut after just four games, they had a great chance at repeating as state champs.
Because they never had a chance to play, a win this year would be some consolation. Chew said she thinks a few of the seniors from last year’s team will make the trip to Macon for Friday’s semifinal too.
Both the boys and girls teams will have a chance at history. For the girls, it could get its sixth state championship and the boys can break a 44-year streak. Either way, they’ll be able to support each other and have a shared experience in the GISA semifinals together.
“We’re a part of history,” Koehler said. “We’re one of the five to make it in our 67 years of being a school. That’s a huge milestone for our school and I’m super excited to hopefully get to the finals.”