Lady Rebs improve

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Submitted Photo — ACCS sophomore Brandis White, center, takes a shot in the Lady Rebels’ game against Veritas School. ACCS lost the game 6-3 despite taking 35 shots.

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Christian School girls’ soccer program struggled through its first full season last year. The Lady Rebels only won one game last season, but the lessons they learned and the effort they put in this offseason have helped the varsity and junior varsity teams combine to double that win total just three games into the 2011 season.

“I couldn’t be happier for our group that has worked so hard at getting better,” head coach Jim Allgood said. “They learned last year that it takes all 11 girls working together.

“For us to have two victories so far this season is amazing.”

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After losing 6-3 in the 2011 season opener against Veritas School from Ridgeland, a team that beat ACCS 15-0 last season, the Lady Rebels varsity team beat Oak Forest Academy of Amite, La., 4-1, while the junior varsity topped Oak Forest 1-0.

Allgood said his teams’ dedication to learning the sport is one of the main reasons they are seeing such improvement. The teams worked all summer to improve their individual skills, including attending the ACCS soccer camp, which turned out to be a major turning point for the team, Allgood said.

“With the soccer program leaps and bounds have been made,” he said. “I credit a lot of that to the soccer camp in late July, where coach Trey Woodham from Copiah-Lincoln instilled his beliefs in many not only close-to-new soccer ladies but brand-new soccer ladies. And we’ve taken those drills and turned them into skills for many a new soccer player for the AC girls’ team.”

Another promising sign for ACCS is that the players are enjoying the process of getting better, Allgood said.

“These young ladies have come a long way, and (we have) new ladies that have stepped out on the soccer field with athletic talent, speed and work ethic. It’s a blessing for a coach when you see the kids are loving practice and working at getting better.”

A key improvement the Lady Rebels have made this season is their ability to create offensive opportunities, including attempting 35 shots in their loss to Veritas.

“By doing the simple drills that we have worked on since soccer camp, it is allowing us to pass the ball and keep possession of the ball, and if you don’t have possession you don’t create offensive opportunities.”

Two players, Brandis White and Merritt Murray, who had never played soccer before both scored goals in each of the Lady Rebels’ first two varsity games.

Allgood said his team is also seeing leadership from two players, Sage Atkins and Mollie Simpson, who experienced the difficulties of last season and are now displaying their knowledge of the game to their teammates.

Both players showed great maturity in making a tactical change to improve the Lady Rebels’ offensive opportunities after their first loss, Allgood said.

“We only had one senior last year (Shelby Guice),” Atkins said. “Me and Mollie are captains now. We’ve been trying to work better on offense and hustle a little more. The offense has really gotten a lot better.”

Atkins is the only senior on the Lady Rebels’ team, and she is receiving interest this fall from Co-Lin, she said.

Allgood said the team still has a long way to go, especially to catch up with many of the established teams in Division II South District.

“Many of the other teams in the district are multiple state champions,” he said. “We’re in probably the toughest district, in my opinion, in girls’ soccer in the state.”

Allgood said his team would host its first home game of the season Aug. 20.

“It will kind of be like homecoming,” he said.