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“A difference maker”: sophomore Liz Harvey shines on the pitch
The three-sport athlete played a key role in Tuesday’s 5-0 win over Claxton, leading the Redskins to a region championship final on Friday.
liz harvey
Bryan County soccer players Liz Harvey (33) and Shae Coursey (7) on the sidelines. Photo provided by Mike Brown.

There’s a play Liz Harvey made as a freshman shortstop that is forever etched into the mind of Bryan County softball observers.

On a sharply hit ground ball, Harvey went deep into the hole and fielded the ball. While on her knees she fired a strike to first base to nip the runner by a nth of a step. Harvey got up, dusted herself off and nonchalantly returned to her position. Just another play.

When reminded of that play after Tuesday’s 5-0 win over favored Claxton in a soccer game, Harvey shrugged it off with the simple explanation of, “I was able to throw from my knees because I was a catcher when I started playing and I had to throw while on my knees.”

Harvey impressed Region 3A-D1 softball coaches enough that she’s been named to the all-region team twice and she will be the centerpiece, along with Camryn Parker, of new coach Jessica Cooper’s first team this fall.

In basketball she’s a whirling dervish on defense and a double figure scoring threat. Enough that those region coaches also put her on the all-region team.

Now as a sophomore soccer player—she was also all-region last year as both a forward and goalie--she’s become even more of an offensive threat despite playing at less than 100 percent as a result of a knee injury suffered in basketball.

Harvey was a driving force in Tuesday’s 5-0 must win over Claxton which kept the Redskins in contention for an improbable region championship. The title will be decided when they host Metter at 5 p.m. Friday.

“This was a pretty big one,” Harvey said of the win over the Tigers who have had their own way with Bryan County over the years. “This gives us the highest winning total (seven) in Bryan County girls’ soccer history and now we have a chance to win the region.

“We’ve got to beat Metter by more than two points,” Harvey said. “We were not a good girls’ soccer program but we’ve built it up the past couple of years, especially since Coach (Kristen) Barnhill took over.

“It’s a winning program now. We’re going to state (second year in a row) and we can host a first-round state playoff game at home. That means a lot to all of us.”

While the Redskins, who were 1-14 only two years ago in Barnhill’s first season, are still in contention for the region they are assured of no worse than second-place finish and a No. 2 seed going into state tournament play.

The fact Harvey is even playing is a testament to her competitive nature.

She injured her left knee in a basketball game at Screven County and after missing five games she returned and went full bore from the word go.

“It’s been difficult,” Harvey said of recuperating. “I haven’t been able to run as fast and make cuts like I normally would since it won’t bend. I’m less than 100 percent for sure.”

Because of the basketball team winning a region championship and advancing to the third round of the state playoffs Harvey got a late start on the season. Barnhill saw a major uptick in her team when she got Harvey back full time.

“If you saw us before basketball season ended you can tell,” Barnhill said. “She just frees us up to be able to do so many more things as a team. It frees up our center midfielders…they don’t have to be the ones doing everything. She’s getting after it. She’s facilitating.

“Liz is a competitor in everything she does,” Barnhill said. “She works hard, she gives you everything she has. She always wants to be the best one on the field and she does it at practice. She’s positive, she hustles, she’s not afraid to do the dirty work and she’s absolutely a leader on the field.

“She’s probably the best athlete in our school. That kid is a difference maker out there on the field for us.”

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