GC soccer touts two award-winning women

Matthew Gordon | Contributing Writer | Sept. 4, 2019

Kai Jeffies attempts to trap the ball during a hot August practice
Lila Schell | Staff Photographer

Bobcat soccer players Kai Jeffries, a junior defender, and Cassie Balzano, a junior forward, received preseason all-conference recognition this season.

The honor comes on the heels of an impressive 11-5-5 campaign last season that ended valiantly by taking NCAA quarter finalists Columbus State to PK’s in the Peach Belt Conference championship.

She sees this as an opportunity to excel as a leader and motivate her teammates. In doing so, she will have the opportunity to address the team’s consistency issues which plagued them a year ago.

“We would bring our best against bigger opponents, but we need better consistency this season,” Balzano said. “We would bring our best against bigger opponents, but we need better consistency this season,” Balzano said.

The leaders of the Peach Belt Conference anticipate a dominant offensive season for Balzano. Last season she was third on the team, scoring five goals and two assists in 21 games.

Jeffries also felt surprised to receive the honor, but sees this as an opportunity to lead her teammates. She believes her passion and close personal bonds with them will go a long way in the locker room.

On the field, she’ll lead the defense with her versatility and athletic prowess.

“I feel I’m very athletic and fast for my position at center back,” Jeffries said.

She, like Balzano, expects big things from the Bobcats this season in spite of losing a large senior class.

In place of veteran leadership, this Bobcats squad will tout a bevy of talented freshman. In order to achieve their lofty goals, Jeffries believes the team requires a hefty dose of self-motivation.

To achieve success, they must also realize their true potential.

Last season, they didn’t realize their full potential until the championship game in the PBC tournament. Head coach Tina Gallagher has had her eyes on these two standouts for quite some time despite just beginning her inaugural season.

She helped recruit Balzano and Jeffries to Milledgeville as an assistant coach in 2016 and holds high expectations for them this season.

“I expect them to be leaders on and off the field,” Gallagher said.

The team’s ambition has them aiming for winning the Peach Belt tournament, qualifying for the NCAA tournament, having at least a 3.5 GPA as a team average and enjoying a season sure to be full of excitement.

Come out and support your Bobcats on Sept. 13, as they host No. 19 Lincoln Memorial in their home opener at 8 p.m.