Photo by Barry BurlesonCoach David Hoggatt watches his Lady Patriots during a recent preseason practice.
Photos by Barry BurlesonPracticing are Erin Burleson (left) and Kelli Rhea.
(From back to front) Kailyn Smith, Lauren Harden, Anna Griffin Tollison and Michaelann Lemons.
MA soccer team starts season July 31 at home
June and July have been busy months for the Marshall Academy soccer team.
The Lady Patriots, coached by David Hoggatt, are tuning up for the season ahead. They kick off the campaign Tuesday, July 31, at home versus Heritage Academy.
“The girls are working hard and improving,” he said. “We’re looking forward to the season.”
It is Hoggatt’s second season at the helm. He stepped into the role at the last minute last year, and this summer he’s been able to spend more time on the practice field with his squad.
“Practice is going well,” he said. “I can see huge improvement in the girls we have returning. They’re getting work in that they did not get in last year. They know the game better now.”
He lost six seniors from last year’s team and that included “key players who will be hard to replace,” he said.
Lack of depth will continue to be an issue. This year’s team will be made up of about 15 players. Eleven are on the field at one time.
Seniors are Kelli Rhea and Victoria Gurley. Juniors are Erin Burleson, Kristy Wang and Keranie Jones.
“Most of our players are in the 10th grade and below,” Hoggatt said. “So those five have to really step up and be leaders.
“And I really feel good about the young girls being able to help out a lot this year.”
Marshall is one of only two Class AA schools north of Jackson to field a soccer team. All opponents on the Lady Patriots’ schedule, with the exception of Columbus Christian, are much larger schools.
“They have enough to field two teams, and we struggle to field one,” he said.
“But these girls are determined to be able to compete, and they’re not letting the size of the other schools defeat them.
“One thing we have to do (because of the low numbers) is be in better shape than everyone else.”
After the opener versus Heritage, the Lady Patriots stay at home for the next three games. They host Magnolia Heights August 2, Columbus Christian August 7 and Indianola Academy August 8. The first road game is August 11 at Bayou Academy in Cleveland.