Opening Statement: “It was another crazy SEC weekend on the road, we went up to Tennessee Friday night and played the Volunteers and really played a pretty good game for about 70 minutes. We created chances that we typically score on, and defended them very well they have a very good player. I really thought we had a couple where the bench thought we scored and somehow it stayed out of the goal, and they got us on the counter attack. We still had more chances and couldn’t get anything in and they scored another good goal making it three nothing in a game that for big spells of it we thought we played really well. We just didn’t complete our chances.
We turned around yesterday and played No. 20 Georgia in Athens and went down in that game early, about three minutes in 1-0 on kind of a fluky goal from Georgia then really dominated the rest of the match. Rafaelle Souza scored a great free kick goal that was really a brilliant ball at the near post to tie it just before halftime. Unfortunately we lost one of our center backs, Sam Sanders, halfway through the first half to a knee injury. We had to mix and match back there a little bit. We got in at halftime and got the girls refocused, we came out with great intensity, great energy. Mandy McCalla scored a brilliant goal on a corner kick to go up 2-1 and Rafa finished them off with about 10 minutes to go on another goal, which was her second goal of the afternoon.
Our seniors came through, Rafa had two, Mandy had one that Erin Emerson set up. Erin set up Mandy’s on the corner and Jenn Miller set up Rafa’s. But a great performance for us yesterday especially after losing Sam, Jess Hiskey stepped in and did a great job at center back for us. She will probably take over there for us for the remainder of the season. I am very happy with the team, it was a big win for us, a very important win for us for conference play certainly. Looking at our resume for the NCAA Tournament, that was a big win for us on the road. So I am happy with them.
The back line played well, the midfield really controlled the game yesterday with Mandy, Erin Emerson and Jenn Miller. They were dominant in the game really for 90 minutes which certainly helped us preserve the victory. We played a lot of people yesterday. Emily Reid came in and gave us really good minutes, Heather Lacy, Addie Forbus, that crew in there did a really good job for us. So I’m happy with the team we play this weekend, Vanderbilt. We have one game this weekend, which is our first one game weekend of the year. We play Vanderbilt at home Friday night. It’s our last real home Friday night game, since we play Mississippi State later in the year on a Thursday night. It’s our last Friday night under the lights at home for this senior class, so we are hoping for a big crowd. Vanderbilt comes in with a really potent attack they have three of the best forwards of the league so we will need to be prepared for that. But we are excited to be home for the next couple of weeks and play in front of our home crowd.
On timing for single game this week, evaluating injuries: It is a perfect time for us. We are going to take a couple days off and get regenerated and ready for the last five. We have four of the next six at home which is great for us. But they are tough ones, we play South Carolina, Texas A&M, Mississippi State obviously, Alabama and LSU. So we have to be ready but certainly it comes at a good time for us to get recharged.
On Sam Sanders being out, Jessica Hiskey filling that position: Georgia Russell will have to help us in the back some more as she has all year so she will be important. Jess will slide into Sam’s spot. It’s interesting, they are a little bit different players but some of the things Jess does really well are weaknesses of Sam and vice versa. So it will be different for us back there certainly but the good thing is Jess played all season last year and has really come back strong off her injury so we hope there won’t be a big change but we do have to be a little bit better prepared. We will spend this week looking at Jess back there certainly, but Georgia will have to give us some good minutes back there as well as our next back. Luckily we have good depth at defender so hopefully it won’t make to much of a change for us.
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