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Heading into the playoffs, the South Lakes Seahawks Field Hockey Team is undeterred and undefeated. At 18-0 and champions of the Concorde District, the Lady Seahawks currently own the top seed in the region tournament ahead of their most challenging stretch.

To say this team thought they would be undefeated and enjoying this much success so quickly would be a bit of a shock, considering where this journey began. A time when field hockey was the farthest from the minds of folks in Reston outside of the players. 

A couple of weeks ago, the Fairfax Times did a story on the Seahawks program, highlighting the lean years, including the sudden coaching change that brought Head Coach Lisi Mueller into her current role. At the time, Mueller said she was surprised at how everything went down but jumped in immediately to help the girls.

“I got thrown into this role, and I knew I could not abandon those kids,” Mueller said. “I was an assistant coach for lacrosse, and when the news came, I knew those kids, and I decided to handle it.” 

Mueller had what it took, and the results speak for themselves. From being a win-deprived program to now one with the makings of potentially hoisting sacred hardware, the rise of the Seahawks is an incredible story, as was this season.

The Seahawks captured their first district title since 1996 while facing stiff competition, including the James Madison Warhawks, who knocked the Seahawks out of the playoffs last year with a last-second goal in double overtime. This time, the blue and green birds got to experience the joys of victory. As Mueller pointed out, the number of people who stayed on the field to revel in the district title with the girls was joyous. 

Additionally, the girls also showed mental toughness while dealing with activities off the field. Homecoming weekend, combined with many of Mueller’s players playing multiple sports throughout the year, could be a reason to have cause to pause. But Mueller said the management skills of her players have shown throughout this incredible run.

“Beating everyone in the district twice gave the girls confidence that they could do it and just go out and do it and prove to themselves that they are mentally capable of doing it and finishing it out. Homecoming week is stressful, but every time they got on the field, they stayed focused on the legacy they wanted to leave the school with,” Mueller said.

The joy surrounding this team isn’t just shown by the players; the community has come out to support this group. Not just at home but on the road as well. Christy Ofner said the girls’ success has brought excitement to the Reston area that hasn’t been seen for the field hockey program in quite a while.

“It’s not just parents, and it’s not just friends of the players either,” Ofner said. “It’s friends of the parents and other families and neighbors who are coming out and may not know anything about the sport, but they all have a high energy about this team.”

Although their last district title in 1996 is a distant memory, the girls have plenty to look forward to. The regional playoffs are a different game, and a loss at this point means the season ends, something these players do not want, and why would they? They’ve been an exciting group to watch, as Mueller said.

South Lakes takes on Langley in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 2. Though the Saxons are 7-9, they pose an exciting challenge for the girls. The district title drought is over, but how about winning the region? Mueller says the team is happy with what they have achieved but is far from finished.

“They are pushing themselves, and they have the motivation to go out and play each game and get the job done. This is about them and if they want to do it. The answer is yes, and I see that from all of my players. It’s about finishing it out and seeing how far they want to go.”

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