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Kirkwood made hat tricks a regularity

NATCHEZ — Three is a crowd, unless you’re Cathedral senior Maddie Kirkwood.

Kirkwood’s threat to tally a hat trick, or three goals, helped lead the Lady Green Wave varsity girls soccer team to a 9-9-1 record this past season, including a 4-2 divisional record. Kirkwood finished the season with three hat tricks, and more than 20 goals.

For Kirkwood, the improvement of the entire team from last season to this season made the biggest difference in her being able to score so many goals.

“I think we worked a lot more on finishing this season as a team,” Kirkwood said. “We worked on being more comfortable in front of the goal, and our passing got better.

“My teammates’ setups made it a lot easier on me to score. Our whole team improved — it’s them, not just me.”

Kirkwood said she’s happy scoring just one goal, but if she does score a goal in a game, she immediately sets her sights on three.

“Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t,” she said. “I’m happy with one, but three is great, especially in big games.”

Kirkwood said her team had a great season, even though it fell short of winning a district championship, which was Cathedral’s goal going into the season.

“It really was a great season,” Kirkwood said. “We got a little more serious in practice this season. Both the coaches and the girls really wanted to win our district.”

The Lady Green Wave lost the deciding district game to Franklin County 1-0 Jan. 21. Cathedral also fell to Bay St. Louis in the opening round of the playoffs 8-0. Despite the disappointing end, Kirkwood said she was pleased with how her final year went for the Lady Green Wave.

“It was a good fight,” Kirkwood said. “The loss to Franklin County was a sad one. We didn’t win, but everyone tried their hardest.”

And that was the reason the season was so enjoyable for Kirkwood this past winter, she said.

“Everyone on our team tries their hardest,” Kirkwood said. “The whole soccer team is like a family. At school we see each other, but on the soccer field, everything just clicks.

“Everyone gets along. There was no drama — we’re all sisters.”

Kirkwood also credited the Cathedral coaches, both head coach David Gaudé and his two assistants.

“All I’ve ever known is Coach Gaudé,” Kirkwood said. “He’s not just a coach, he’s someone you can come to for other things.

“Coaches Donovan Silva and Dennis Hogue also did a great job. They were always positive. Their famous thing is saying how ‘unlucky’ we were. Even when we had a bad game, they’d never get down on us and always seemed to point out the good things we did.”

Kirkwood said he’s been playing soccer since she was 6 or 7. The whole time, her father Jeff Kirkwood has been a huge helping hand in her development as a player.

“My dad always coached me growing up,” Kirkwood said. “He’s been a positive influence on me. He’d come to all my games and film them.”