By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Both soccer teams that call Millington home are young.
The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Lady Rebels are in year two as a revamp program under the guidance of Head Coach Matt Baxter. Meanwhile the Millington Lady Trojans are preparing to say farewell to Head Coach Larry Dagen at season’s end and a handful of seniors.
With mostly underclassmen taking to the Centennial Park field Oct. 6 for the Lady Trojans’ home finale, both the Lady Rebels and Lady Trojans displayed promise for the future. But it was a Millington senior who finished off her home career in style. Devin McSwain scored three goals in guiding the Lady Trojans to a 5-2 win over their cross-town rivals.
“It means a lot how I can show these younger girls what I can do and maybe they can look up to me,” McSwain said. “And maybe down the years they can do the same, be a captain and show their team what they can do.”
One of the younger Lady Trojans who displayed what she can do was Bria Barnes. Dagen moved her up from defense to midfield early in the contest to give Barnes scoring opportunities.
Barnes made Dagen look like a genius early on out running the Lady Rebels to get a shot on goal. In mid stride, Barnes blasted the ball into the net to make the score 1-0.
After Barnes missed another shot over the net, she was on the attack again being tackled in the box. McSwain took the penalty kick and made the score 2-0.
The Lady Rebels didn’t back down and played aggressive creating a scoring chance for Katie Smith. The sophomore connected for a goal to make the tally 2-1 in the first half.
Before halftime Millington got a goal from Julie Dickerson and led 3-1.
Coming out of the break, TRA was on the attack getting the ball to freshman Brittany Hall. Using her dribbling, Hall was able to move through the Millington defense for a shot to make the score 3-2.
That was McSwain’s cue to take over the game. The senior midfielder was all over the leaf-covered turf defending and taking shots on goal.
McSwain made the score 4-2 angling a shot pass the TRA keeper midway through the second half.
Her final home goal was a 45-yard blast. With a powerful kick, McSwain drove the ball the perfect trajectory into the back of the net with no bounce.
“I don’t have words for it,” she said. “I really didn’t think it was going to go in. It felt good when it did.”
The goal secured a victory for the Lady Trojans in the final home game for 2014. With districts this week, McSwain took a moment to think about the future and reflect.
“I’m not going to stop playing soccer for sure,” she said. “This means a lot. It shows they care for me. I have a great support system.”
McSwain has been pushed and motivated by her parents Sonya and Chris and brother Dalton who was a baseball standout at Millington.
The trio presented McSwain with a gift, flowers and a card after her final home game. Even before the loving gesture arrived, McSwain was in tears standing with her teammates.
“I did give my heart to this program,” she concluded. “Of course I’m crying. My team means a lot to me. The best is the friendships and how close we are. Those things you can never break on or off the field. We’re still going to be great friends.”