Poplarville soccer pushing through busy schedule

Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Poplarville soccer team has had a busy start to the season with six games in about two weeks.

The athletes have often only had one day to recover before once again taking the field for a full 80 minutes of play.

Such a busy schedule may have been a disadvantage for some teams, but after six games the Hornets are 4-2 and riding high after a recent victory over the Long Beach Bearcats.

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The Bearcats played in the state championship last year.

Being able to soldier through so many games in such a short time span speaks to the players’ conditioning and Head Coach Beth McShea said she was surprised with her team’s resiliency.

The season has been a mix of highs and lows with a win like the one against Long Beach being followed up by a 2-0 loss to West Jones.

However, McShea said her team’s fighting spirit and ability to come from behind have been positives for the team so far this season.

“They haven’t been getting down if the other team scores. They fight to the end, which is something we have struggled with in the past,” McShea said.

Junior Evelyn Kimball is an attack minded player for the Hornets and currently leads the team in goals.

A physical player with great pace, Kimball has been one of the standouts six games into the season. McShea said Aislynn Andrews has also done a good job of adapting to playing along the backline, while goalkeeper Peyton Barber would win the team MVP if it were given out at this point in the season. Even with all the positives, McShea said there are still some things her players need to work on. First among them being touch and awareness while in possession of the ball.

“We would do some good things and then turn the ball over. We need to make the same good passes under pressure we make when there isn’t any pressure,” McShea said. Another aspect of the game McShea wants to see improvement on is the team’s physicality.

Unlike in the boys game where flopping is a common occurrence to induce a whistle from the referee, girls soccer is a physical match up that prioritizes toughness and strength.

McShea said that physicality is what allows good teams to be great, and she wants to see her athletes improve on that as the season goes on.

The team was originally scheduled to play Hattiesburg Nov. 12, but the game was canceled due to inclement weather forecasts. Instead, the Hornets will take on the Hancock Hawks on Nov. 14 with the match set to start at 5:30 p.m. before the boys play at 7 p.m.