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Former SD coach reflects on 2014 squad’s success

(Oct. 24, 2014) Tuesday’s Bayside Conference championship match between the Stephen Decatur and Queen Anne’s girls’ soccer teams was a nail-biter and Misty Bunting was there to witness the Lady Seahawks bring the title home.

Bunting led the Decatur girls’ soccer program for seven years as head coach, and for four years prior she was an assistant under Amy Fenzel-Mergott.

Bunting coached a majority of the girls on this year’s squad. Fifteen of the 19 players on first-year Coach Maggie Berke’s roster competed last season for Bunting. Many of them played for her two and three years.

Bunting said she was happy for the players, coaches and the school. The last time Decatur won the Bayside title was 2003.

“To say I’m proud of this team would be an understatement. The Bayside championship has been a goal of this group since Day 1,” Bunting said. “All of the girls and the coaches have worked hard. They have earned it–and they deserve it. Watching them win that game and celebrate like the champions they are, I felt like an overwhelmed proud parent.”

Bunting said she knew when she was stepping down that she was leaving a championship team. Not only are the upperclassmen strong, but the younger group brings talent to the team as well, Bunting said.

“They’ve all worked so hard to develop not only their individual skills, but also the team chemistry,” she said. “And, this year, under the leadership of Maggie Berke, the team is coming together beautifully.”

Bunting said this season has been “bittersweet.” She said she misses the girls and coaching, but Bunting doesn’t have any regrets, for two reasons.

“First, the joy of watching my daughter play (JV volleyball) is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.  I’m so lucky to be able to be there to support her and watch her be a part of a high school team,” Bunting said. “My mother was always at my games when I was young and that’s something that I will never forget. But, because of work, my father rarely was. Just before he died last season, I promised him that I would make whatever sacrifice needed to be there to watch my kids play.”

The second reason Bunting said she had no regrets stepping down was because she knew she was leaving the soccer program in not just good, but great hands.

“Maggie is fantastic. She is smart, cool under pressure and she’s a great role model for the girls.  She, Colbi Custis, Dale Krantz and Olivia Smith bring an immeasurable amount of energy, enthusiasm and knowledge to practice and games each day,” Bunting said. “They have all inspired the girls by their example, and they have developed the team confidence needed to win the big games. The team is working together better than they ever have, and that is because of the efforts of this coaching staff.”

Decatur earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in Section I of the 3A South Regional tournament. The Seahawks will host the winner of today’s match-up between the No. 4 James M. Bennett Clippers and No. 5 Northeast (AA) Eagles, on Monday at 4 p.m.

Bunting said she will be there to cheer the Seahawks on.

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