The Lady Patriots (4-7-1) played perhaps their best all-around game of the season Saturday, shutting out a very good Garrard County team, 1-0.
Model junior Kylee Miller got her first goal of the season with 18:35 remaining in the first half to give the Lady Patriots all the scoring they needed on the day.
Model Coach Michael Bailey lauded his defense after the game, particularly the play of Brooke Roberts, Ruby Smith and Katelyn Cox.
“Our defense was the real key to us winning this game. I can’t say enough about the job Ruby and Katelyn did out there,” Bailey said. “Brooke played probably her best game of the season.”
Roberts began the season playing forward for the Patriots, but Bailey said he switched her back to her natural position at defensive right fullback and her play had really picked up and so has the overall defense of the team.
“I don’t think Brooke was really comfortable at forward, but the move back to fullback had made a world of difference,” Bailey said. “We set her up against the other team’s best forward every game. She is aggressive, which we weren’t seeing from that position. Not only is she doing a great job covering that part of the field, she is providing support for the other side also and she’s the only one that has the speed to do that for us.”
After getting the early lead, the Lady Patriots found themselves in the unfamiliar position of having to make the single goal stand up over the remainder of the game.
But if they felt the pressure of protecting a slim lead late in the game it didn’t show as they continued to press on offense and never paid attention to the clock, even in the final few minutes when Garrard County increased its offensive pressure.
Bailey said that with his young team he didn’t feel like it would be wise to change to a ball control team late in the game.
“Coming off a team that has been shut out so many times in the past, there was no reason for me to change the style during the game,” Bailey said. “We’ve got to learn to keep playing through the entire game and have the mentality to keep on pushing and scoring and scoring till we get that mentality that we can score a lot of goals.”
Bailey said he knew when he took over the program this year that the Lady Patriots were a very young team that had been down the last few years and it would take some time to build a winning culture at Model.
But with eight games left in the season, he said he’s seen his team grow by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season.
“When we came in we had to try to rebuild the girls’ confidence in themselves. We did that through the way we run our practices and the way we run in games. Now I think they are starting to feel like soccer players and a soccer team instead of just a team for Model that they go out for and have fun and enjoy themselves,” Bailey said. “They are taking ownership of this team now. Once you start doing that and you start thinking like a soccer player, you are there. If we keep developing in these last eight games and district comes, we might just catch somebody sleeping.”
The Lady Patriots are back in action on Monday when they travel to Berea to take on the Lady Pirates in a district matchup at 6 p.m.