Recent girls soccer seasons at Augusta Prep could be described as either “with Jamie” or “without Jamie.”
Prolific scorer Jamie Alexander now plays for Furman, but the Lady Cavaliers soccer team has proven the winning won’t stop.
This year, Augusta Prep and its coach, Tom Norton, had another big season, going all the way to the Georgia Independent School Association Class AAA state semifinals after the program lost in the state title game to Westminster in 2012.
For his efforts, Norton is The Augusta Chronicle’s Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.
The Lady Cavaliers went 13-3 this season, with Amanda Murphy scoring 21 goals, Caroline Smith adding 15 and JoAna Murphy anchoring the defense. Augusta Prep also battled injuries, from Smith’s concussion to a collarbone injury to freshman defender Bailee Cloutier.
“Life here is kind of, with Jaime or without Jamie. It’s certainly different without Jamie around,” Norton said. “We spread it around a little more this year.”
Norton is an ex-South Carolina player who had stints as the men’s and women’s coach at Georgia Southern. Now he is working with student-athletes who are a little less developed than the college players. In high school and in younger ages with Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club, where Norton is the director of coaching, there’s much more work to be done, but the growth is easier to see.
His time at Augusta Prep has seen much progress. Games against powerful Westminster are no longer blowouts; now, the two teams are playing close games and splitting games.
So the winning culture hasn’t stopped.
“I hope there’s an expectation,” Norton said. “The group coming up is really excited – I think we have some of the best players in the area. I’m excited about the soccer in the area.”