The light rain that fell in the first half of Monday's soccer opener for the Starkville Academy Volunteers wasn't enough to damper their spirits.
After a 4-0 victory over the HIllcrest Christian School Cougars at the Starkville Sportsplex, the Vols were feeling pretty good about themselves.
Drew Pellum had a hat trick with one goal in the first half and two more in the second for SA.
"We possessed the ball real well and our midfield did a real good job," Pellum said. "The defense did a good job of keeping them with no goals. I thought me and Matt (Jones) did well. We've just got to keep working as a team."
The Vols have only been together for about four weeks. They had a small number at practice on Saturday following Thanksgiving break with a full workout on Sunday.
SA soccer coach Robert Gardner wasn't sure what to expect after being off for six days, but was pleased with the result and thought there were some good performances individually as well as the team.
The main message Gardner had for the Vols was making correct decisions during the course of the match.
"I thought we were relying too much on the counter attack," Gardner said. "I felt like we did slow it down much better (in the second half). The points we talked about was getting the ball to the corners and making the right decisions.
"If the right decision is to make a shot, that's great, but if the right decision is to pass the ball, by all means. If the opportunity is there to slow it down and keep possession in their half and make them chase, that's going to tire them more. That will ultimately give us more space to play in and gives us chances to score which is what we took."
Jones scored the first goal for SA in the first half, then Pellum followed with one of his own to provide the team a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Pellum scored two more goals within 2 minutes of each other to put the Vols up 4-0.
"I'm happy for him and felt he played extremely well," Gardner said of Pellum. "The partnership with he and Matt as our two forwards, and both seniors, is very encouraging. I believe there are more goals to come in the coming weeks and months."
Starkville Academy travels to the Southaven Tournament on Saturday. The Vols play public school competition with Lake Cormorant at 11:30 a.m. and Southaven at 3:30 p.m.
"It is a good opportunity for us and we'll see how it goes," Gardner said.