By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The summer heat finally arrived to the Mid-South just in time for the Millington Lady Trojans’ visit to Brighton Field.
At game time of last Thursday’s soccer game, temperatures were in the low 90s. After weeks of highs in the upper 80s, it took both Millington and the Brighton Lady Cardinals a few minutes to adjust to playing in the heat.
The Lady Cardinals build a 2-0 lead by halftime and seemed to get their second wind in the final 40 minutes leading to a 5-0 victory over the Lady Trojans.
“They performed better in the second half,” Brighton Head Coach Shari Garrett noted. “They were passing better and moving better. They played better together as a team definitely in the second half.”
The first 15 minutes were productive for the Lady Cardinals receiving goals from Courtney Carpenter.
Brighton had a few more opportunities to score but were denied by Lady Trojan goalie Emily Stewart. The senior keeper made leaping and diving saves to keep Millington in the game during the first 40 minutes.
Both teams located water bottles during the break to rehydrate for the second half. And Millington came out of halftime with a boost moving the ball down toward the Brighton goal.
But the Lady Cardinal defense recovered to regain control of the ball. That set the table for Brighton to attack on offense and put the game away.
Within the first 10 minutes of the second half the Lady Cardinals jammed the goalie box in front of Stewart. Carpenter had a clear shot into the net. Carpenter connected for her second goal of the game making the tally 3-0.
A few minutes later Brighton’s passing created a breakaway. Carpenter got behind the Millington defense and released a shot. She had a hat trick for the game.
Ahead 4-0 late, Brighton put the finishing touches on the game with another breakaway goal.
Garrett said she was happy with the variety of contributors in the Millington win. And she noted the Lady Cardinals are making progress already in this young season.
“We have to pick up the pace of our play,” she acknowledged. “We’ve got to learn to make shorter and smarter passes. We just have to play faster as a team overall.
“It’s great to see so many names contributing,” Garrett added. “We’re trying to be more versatile. Last year we had a lot of injuries. I’m trying to make sure eerybody on the team is contributing. God forbid there’s another injury, we’ll be ready.”
Garrett said the time younger players spent on the field last year is paying off in 2013.
“I’m hoping that my second string is going to be as great as my first string,” she concluded. “I’m trying to make sure everybody will be ready to go in at anytime.”