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Hornet soccer getting ready for busy summer

The Poplarville Lady Hornets have been making use of a spring offseason that didn’t exist last year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The team held squad training sessions, strength training workouts and team scrimmages during the past couple of months as the team heads into what will be an active summer.

Head Coach Beth McShea has prioritized player development this spring after missing out on that opportunity in 2020.

“It’s huge for us, especially this year with graduating so many starters, being able to see what we have left, who’s moving where and who’s stepping up. Not having it last year cut development down for some of those off the bench players that would’ve gotten more time if we’d been able to train in the spring,” McShea said.

The Lady Hornets have scheduled several friendly matches for the summer to give the new athletes a chance to see competition.

In addition to the games, Poplarville will also take part in team camps and seven on seven tournaments.

Having those opportunities to spend as much time as possible together as a team will only benefit the squad when the season rolls around.

“It’s great to see how well we mesh together because some of the kids may not have played together much and this will let us see where everybody fits, especially this year we’ve been seeing a lot of people step up in the spring time,” McShea said. Losing such a large portion of the starting lineup to graduation means McShea needs young athletes to fill those roles and fast.

That’s one of the many reasons why the summer months will see the team spend a lot of time on the field getting work in.

“We’re harping more on basic things like footwork and passing. Like I said, having a spring is huge in the fact that they got to jump in, and one day maybe all we did was scrimmage, but getting that many touches on the ball is big,” McShea said.

The final piece of the puzzle McShea will have to scope out is who will take on the leadership roles for the team after losing several veteran players.

The process of maturation and authority takes time, but McShea is hoping the coming months will see new leaders fill the void.

“Really I’m looking for a couple more people to step up into leadership roles and I would like to see that I have more than 11 that could play at any given time, so when you have to substitute a bunch there’s no drop off. We should be able to do that with as much time as we’ve had,” McShea said.