By Rubin E. Grant
The Vestavia Hills girls soccer team’s dream season became even dreamier last week.
The Rebels were tabbed the No. 1 team nationally in the USA Today and MaxPreps rankings.
Senior forward Lizzie Hill was totally astonished.
“When I first heard it, it was so unreal,” Hill said. “To think that there are so many other schools and for us to be ranked on top of all of them is unbelievable.
“When I look back in a few years, I can say, ‘Yeah, we were No. 1 in the nation.’”
Vestavia Hills earned its ranking by going undefeated with a 23-0-0 record this spring and winning its second consecutive AHSAA Class 7A state championship. The Rebels also established a new state record with 29 consecutive wins, breaking the previous mark of 28 set by Oak Mountain during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
“This year’s team was really close,” said Hill, who will play college soccer at UAB. “We trusted each other on and off the field and I think that’s what helped us throughout the season.”
The Rebels capped their perfect season and broke the record when they beat McGill-Toolen Catholic 2-0 in the Class 7A championship game on May 11. Hill scored a goal and was named MVP.
“An undefeated season was our goal, but when it happened I just couldn’t believe it,” Hill said. “I was going around hugging people and saying, ‘We’re undefeated, we’re undefeated.’ This truly was a dream season.”
As a result of the No. 1 ranking, the championship and the record-breaking winning streak, Vestavia Hills coach Brigid Meadow last week was named the National High School Coaches Association’s National Coach of the Year for girls soccer.
“They sent me an email to let me know,” Meadow said. “It was a complete surprise.
“I am honored, but I think it’s an award for all the girls who have come through our program as well as the coaches and parents. It’s an accumulation of all of us working together and having a shared belief and then putting in the work.”
Meadow collected her milestone 300th victory during the season. She has coached the Rebels for 15 years and guided them to five state championships (2019, 2018, 2016, 2007 and 2005).
“This season was truly a dream season and with everything that is happening with all the accolades is well deserved,” Meadow said. “The girls did everything I asked of them. They didn’t talk a lot or brag. They just stayed focused on what we were doing. They have received everything that has come to them humbly.”