The newest soccer team in the Catholic Girls Athletic Association has quickly become a challenger to the existing powers.
Paul VI High School, which was established three years ago in Fairfax, finished the 1984 season 14-2-1 and is off to a fast start this fall with only one loss in 12 games.
Paul VI is coached by Roger Creed, who played and coached professionally in England for 20 years.
Creed's team will be among the favorites in the conference tournament that will be played for the first time this fall in November. The Panthers are likely to seeded first or second going into the tournament.
"We're interested in bringing the championship to Paul VI," said Creed. "We think it's our year to win the championship."
Creed attributes much of the team's success to the players' self-discipline.
"He (Creed) wants perfection. In some sense, that's good. It makes us work harder," said Liz Koch, a junior halfback who is one of the team captains.
The Panthers, who overall are younger than most of their opponents, should be a power for the next several years. The team will graduate one player this year and only a few next year.
"I think the school, whether I'm there or not, will be strong for a very long time," said Creed.
Panthers players feel they receive more than the usual amount of individual instruction from Creed.
"I've been here a month and my game has improved about 50 percent," said Michele Simonds, a junior transfer student. "He gives you a lot more individual attention. I've never had (individual attention) before.
"He seems like the only coach that knows so much, because he's been there."
Paul VI likes to maintain heavy defensive pressure on opponents. Only five goals have been scored on the Panthers this season.
"Our goalkeeper (Michelle McAlister) does exceptionally well," said Creed. "She's worked a lot on her own. She's willing to learn."
"I don't have to do a lot because we have three great fullbacks," said sweeper Meghean Owings.
"I feel like our team's pretty much together," said Simonds, the team's leading scorer. "We're one big family."