Starkville's Noa Hardin (18) looks to chase down the soccer ball during playoff action Tuesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville High School girls' soccer team is traveling north today for second round action of the Class 5A State playoffs.
The Lady YellowJackets will meet the Oxford Lady Chargers at noon.
SHS is coming off a 3-0 victory over Center Hill in the first round of the playoffs.
The two teams met earlier this season in Oxford and the Lady Jackets won 1-0.
"We went and looked at the tape from the first time we played Oxford and they possessed the ball a lot and more than we really did in that game," SHS girls coach Anna Albritton said. "We know we can hang in there with them toe to toe so we just kind of talked about things like stepping to the ball, making the right runs, and communicating. Instead of getting on the ball and doing stuff, we talked about it. We made them verbally say what they have to do in order to win the game (today). It has to be in their heads that they have to do these things."
For the players, it is a time for excitement, but also when nerves are stretched to their limits.
"Everybody is still nervous," Lady Jacket junior Carolina Berryhill said. "Even with this weather, we still have to get touches on the ball. Everybody is really excited for it. We know that we can possibly beat them because we beat them once and (after) beating them once, we can do it twice."
Before the first round matchup, Albritton made the underclassmen look the seniors in the eyes and tell them this wasn't their last game.
"They are not through," Albritton said of the seniors. "They don't want to finish yet. They want to keep playing."
If the seniors want to continue to the next round, they will need help from sophomore Noa Hardin.
Hardin was injured in the last regular season game against New Hope. It was unclear if she was going to play in the first round game.
"I played most of the game and I am hoping to play in the next round," Hardin said. "Coach has been keeping me off the ball as much as possible so I can heal fully."
The weather has not cooperated with the Lady Jackets this season and that has not changed in the playoffs.
Practice has been held wherever there is a dry spot. Thursday's practice was held in the parking lot because the field was too wet to play on.
"(Thursday) was a nasty day," Albritton said. "There is standing water on our field and we couldn't get out there so we got out on our little parking lot here and did some touches with the ball. Actually it was pretty good."
View more articles in: