Lady Vols soccer impress in 4-0 win
The Starkville Academy girls soccer team closed out the regular season with another shutout.
Goal keeper Garland Willcutt defended the net for about 50 minutes of the Lady Volunteers' 4-0 victory against Clarksdale-Lee on Thursday, but is quick to point out that it's not just her efforts which keep an opponent scoreless.
"I don't claim them myself," Willcutt said of shutouts. "It's the team."
It was a team effort against Clarksdale-Lee as Starkville Academy coach Robert Gardner was able to empty his bench and rest players like Tiffany Huddleston and Sallie Kate Richardson who have had their share of injuries this season.
"The idea was to get healthy with today and make sure we got the result," Gardner said. "(Playing several players) was definitely a good thing for us. It was a good day as far as talking to the players and making sure they understood roles and responsibilities.
"Just paying attention in training, I've noticed players getting better that I wouldn't have expected when the season started. I'm extremely happy and feel we are in a good place right now."
The Lady Vols, who improved to 9-6-1, host a first-round Class AAA playoff match against Presbyterian Christian at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Willcutt, who is one of six sophomores for Starkville Academy, likes being a part of an up and coming program.
"We've played well all year long, considering we're a young team, and we don't have as much experience as other teams," Willcutt said. "We've pulled it together."
As far as defending her territory, Willcutt tries to approach each match the same way.
"Every game is different, but no matter who you play, you've got to come out with the attitude that you are playing the best team," Willcutt said. "Being a young team, we'll do better as the years come."
Gardner doesn't have to look too far back to find Willcutt's best effort of the season.
Even though two goals were scored, Gardner said the 2-2 draw to Jackson Academy on Monday was impressive for Willcutt.
"That's when we needed her to be at her best," Gardner said. "She's done nothing but get better along with everybody else."
Willcutt wasn't satisfied against Jackson Academy, saying the two goals shouldn't have happened.
"There was a mis-communication on one of them and another one was a hand-ball right outside the box that I couldn't see until it got over the wall," Willcutt said.
As far as the match against Clarksdale-Lee, the Lady Vols had two goals each from Tiffany Evans and Anna McKell. McKell scored the first goal of each half, including one 40 seconds into the second half.
Gardner didn't particularly think his squad played with the best effort in the first half so he was glad to see the quick start to the second 40 minutes.
"We turned things around in the second half and I thought we played much better," Gardner said.