The Cathedral High School Lady Wave soccer team player Alyssa Stewart, right, dribbles the ball past Kaylee Sanders during practice as head coach Donovan Silva watches in the distance. The Lady Wave are 5-1 in district this season. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)
The Cathedral High School Lady Wave soccer team player Alyssa Stewart, right, dribbles the ball past Kaylee Sanders during practice as head coach Donovan Silva watches in the distance. The Lady Wave are 5-1 in district this season. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral Lady Wave learn communication is the key to wins

Published 12:01am Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NATCHEZ — Having a team of young teenage girls come together and play a sport as intricate as soccer can be difficult.

No one knows this better than Cathedral High School first-year head coach Donovan Silva.

His Lady Wave soccer team has gone 6-3 overall and 5-1 in district so far this season, but it didn’t come easy.

The Lady Wave lost a handful of seniors last year, and they now rely on several freshmen and 7th and 8th graders.

Silva admits that trying to keep a young group of girls focused can get difficult at times.

“They’re still learning to be mentally prepared for games,” Silva said. “The most important thing is staying focused.

“It’s a struggle sometimes. If there’s a nice sky out in the day, they may get distracted.”

For seniors Kaylee Sanders and Maddy Christian, guiding a young team back to the playoffs has proved to be intricate within itself.

“I tell them to take criticism and don’t take it to heart,” Christian said. “We are all helping each other.”

But Sanders, a goalkeeper, said despite the team’s struggles to stay focused, she has no doubts her teammates are dedicated to winning.

“I think everybody wants it the same,” Sanders said. “Everybody is dedicated, we just have to have confidence in our skills. I have no doubt whenever I leave, they’ll keep going strong.”

Their current record shows that dedication has had the upper hand to their youth, but their 2-0 loss to Franklin County High School Saturday, which dented their perfect district record, has also showed them they’re not quite where they need to be yet.

Christian, a striker, said their main goal on the field is to have better communication with each other.

“We try to work together and not argue with each other on the field,” she said.

Sophomore midfielder Abby Brown said she has learned there is a certain way she must talk to the younger players if she wants to get positive results.

“We have to go easy on them because we don’t want to run anybody off,” she said. “We talk like friends, but I’m honest with them.”

Silva said the best overall game the Lady Wave played this year came against Wesson, and it was because of their communication skills.

“It wasn’t just about getting the 6-0 win, it was the way we got the win,” Silva said. “We passed and moved well and talked to each other. It was probably the best ball movement I’ve seen at Cathedral.”

With plenty of soccer still left to play, Silva said the Lady Wave’s goal is to win district and get past the first round of playoffs. But he also said he has long-term goals for the program that far outweigh what could be accomplished just this season.

“My goal is always to teach them to play the game properly, actually learn the game and to build a program instead of just winning for one year,” he said.

The Lady Wave play again at 5:30 p.m. Friday in a rematch against Franklin County.