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PRC soccer still a work in progress on the pitch

On Dec. 3 the soccer teams from Pearl River Central High School took on Hancock.

The girls team was looking for its first win of the season, while the boys team was trying to build off a 2-0 streak that included a win against Laurel two weeks prior.

Both teams ended up losing to the Hawks with the Lady Devils falling 4-1, while the boys team lost 3-2.

Head Coach Joe Weems said the girls team’s season has been affected by a plethora of injuries to key players.

Losing those athletes has affected who is in the starting line up and depleted the team’s depth on the bench.

“We’re getting to the point where we’re having to move people to different places. We don’t have a lot of depth, so we don’t have gas in the second half,” Weems said.

Without the ability to substitute players in and out of the game as the match goes on, fatigue affects the players’ ability to maintain the same level of performance.

Players are being moved to positions and embrace roles they’re not used to, but Weems said the team is moving in a positive direction after its performance against Hancock.

“We just have to adapt and learn how to play other spots. The lineup is consistently changing, but I thought it was a step in the right direction,” Weems said.

The boys team jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Hawks and at one point even led 2-1, but Hancock was able to pull out the victory with some late goals.

The loss wasn’t the result the Blue Devils wanted, but Weems said the game was a good teaching moment for his players.

“For 10 minutes we had a mental breakdown in the back, but it was a good lesson for us. I think they have a lot of potential,” Weems said.

During practice, the players focused on improving their touch in order to better control the ball.

Weems said that has improved, now it’s about getting the players to read the game and understand where to put the ball. “They’re learning quick and play hard, we just need to work the space and focus on playing smarter. We just keep putting the ball into pressure and not into space,” Weems said.

The teams will take on D’Iberville and Harrison Central on Dec. 7, but before then Weems wants the girls team to continue working on proper placement on the field.

With such a depleted roster, being in the right place will save players from having to exert extra effort running around the field, which will help keep the team competitive in the second half of games.

“They play with a lot of heart, a lot of effort. Sometimes we play so fast it gets ugly and sloppy and people get out of position,” Weems said. After the games on Saturday the teams will begin preparing for their first district game of the season against Hattiesburg on Dec. 10.