It was a season full of questions as Katie Knight took over the St. Vincent soccer team, replacing highly regarded coach Tess Tvrdy, who led the Saints to three straight state crowns before COVID-19 finished fourth in March 2020.
How would the change affect the team’s chemistry? Would the transition work well with a new style of coaching? And how would it fare for the Saints to switch from class 2A to the much tougher 1A private?
One by one, game by game, the saints and knights answered these questions throughout the season. SVA went through its regular season – won a regional title and made it to the quarterfinals of the states, where the Saints lost on penalties to eventual champion Holy Innocents.
After leading her team to a 12-1-1 record, Knight is the Savannah Morning News Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.
“At first I was scared of taking on a girls’ team because there can be more drama,” said Knight, who was an assistant at Benediktiner for three seasons before joining SVA. “And then we moved to another class after winning all the national championships. But everything went together and we had a magical year. I’m sad that the season didn’t last longer, but I was happy to work with this senior class Year.”
Knight added that she should give credit to her husband, Kevin Knight, who served as an assistant and was an important part of the successful season.
The Saints had a variety of stars, including Emma Beddow, Alana Beddow, and Isabella Hogan, who received All-Greater Savannah first-team awards.
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The All-Greater Savannah girls’ soccer team will be announced Thursday, and the Player of the Year award will be announced during the annual Coastal Empire High School Sports Awards, an on-demand streamed broadcast broadcast on the 28th website https: / /sportsawards.usatoday.com/coastalempire/.
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ALL-GREATER SAVANNAH GIRLS SOCCER FIRST TEAM
EMMA BEDDOW, St. Vincent’s, Sr., Onwards
Beddow scored 21 goals and four assists for the Saints (12-1-1), who advanced to the quarter-finals of the Class A Private. She equalized in the playoff loss to Holy Innocents when the Saints fell on penalties. Beddow signed to play for Columbus State.
ISABELLA HOGAN, St. Vincent’s, sr., F / MF
Hogan was a defining factor for the Saints, as a solid player in the middle or up front. She had nine goals and five assists that season.
ALANA BEDDOW, St. Vincent’s, so., Goalkeeper
Alana, a cousin of Emma Beddow, was the stone in the net for the Saints all season. She had 70 saves a year.
BAILEE HILDEBRANDT, Effingham County, sr., MF
Hildebrandt had 12 goals and seven assists in the season to crown his career with 47 goals and 30 assists. She signed up to play for Columbus State.
MYCHAEL FRUITS, Calvary Day, sr., MF
Fruits was the Cavaliers midfielder, scoring 10 goals and nine assists on a squad that ended the season 11-5, finishing second in his region. Fruits signed to play for North Georgia.
EMMA CROSBY, Calvary Day, sr., F.
Crosby had 18 goals and three assists for Calvary Day. She will move on to play in North Georgia.
COURTNEY ALLEN, Richmond Hill, so., MF
Allen was an attacking midfielder for a Wildcats squad that finished second in the rugged 2-6A region and made a first-team selection from all regions.
SARAH HUNGERFORD, Richmond Hill, Jr., MF
Hungerford was a key defensive midfielder for the Wildcats, who advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals and ended the season with a 13-4 record.
EMILY HOUSE, Bradwell Institute, Jr., F
The standout junior scored 29 goals with 19 assists for a Tigers squad and reached the Sweet 16 in the class 6A playoffs.
AMINA OKUMU, Savannah Country Day, Jr., F.
Okumu scored 19 goals and three assists for the Hornets, helping to lead the team to a playoff spot.
JADE CINTRON, ISLANDS, Jr., MF
Cintron was a mainstay for the Sharks, who won the Region 4-3A title and made it to the state quarter-finals for the fourth year in a row.
SURRENA COPELAND, Savannah Arts, sr., F.
Copeland was named Offensive Player of the Year in Region 3-3A. She had 15 goals and five assists for the Panthers.
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Lexie Merry, Richmond Hill
Belief bullied, Savannah Christian
Rowan Carter, Savannah Arts Academy
Amber Beddow, St. Vincent’s Academy
MaKayla Robinson, Bradwell Institute
Olivia Carney, Savannah Country Day
Katie Ellenwood, Calvary Day
Julia Metzger, Islands
Ariana Page, Richmond Hill
Anna Fife, St. Vincent’s Academy
Kate Crunkleton, Calvary Day
Madison Steyer, Bradwell Institute
Cailyn Kurdys, Savannah Arts
Lauren Groneck, Richmond Hill
Hayden Aliotta, St. Vincent’s Academy
JoJo Cintron, Islands
BRADWELL INSTITUTE – Andrea Lopez
CALVARY DAY – Lauren Baker, travel school
COASTAL HOMESCHOOL – Abby Snider, Shannah Stewart, Gracie Smith, Celeste Baladi
EFFINGHAM COUNTY – Dayanara Figueroa, Taylor Clyde, Stephanie Miller
ISLANDS – Maddie Caldwell, Shelby Harvey, Jordan Albury
LIBERTY COUNTY – Keyasia Hairston, Arlasia Jones, Mildany Rodriguez
NEW HAMPSTEAD – Jaiden Brait, Christian Pate, Marina Daniel
RICHMOND HILL – Karli Eubanks
SAVANNAH ARTS – Liberty Lebos, Amelia McCorvey, Niki Karfakis, Mattie Lossing, Catherine Costner
SAVANNAH HIGH – Tania Bryant
SAVANNAH CHRISTIAN – Riley Schwarzer
SAVANNAH COUNTRY DAY – Haley Avino, Grace Wilson, AC Davis
SÜDEFFINGHAM – Harley Murphy
ST. ANDREW’S – Stella Oelschig, Ella McWhorter
ST. VINCENT’S – Emma Cowart, Mary Grace Meyers, Camryn Woods
WINDSOR FOREST – Madeline Moguel, Joahna Ortiz
Dennis Knight reports on sports for the Savannah Morning News. Contact him at Dknight@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @DennisKnightSMN