Bennett spending time teaching his young Lady Lions
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
August 23, 2003
SCOOBA East Mississippi Community College head women's soccer coach Brian Bennett is putting all of his soccer knowledge to a big test.
The fourth-year lady Lions coach is teaching a large number of the 2003 team's members how to play a new sport.
"It can be frustrating," Bennett said. "But I like teaching the game."
The coach has a tall order in front of him trying to turn around a program that posted a 1-11 mark last season, but he has seen some bright spots in practice.
EMCC will be fielding a much faster team this year, and Bennett said the potential is there to win some games.
"Our biggest problem last year was that we were very slow, but we added a lot of speed this year," Bennett said. "I think they will have a chance to win a few more games."
Along with increasing the overall team speed, the squad appears to be more attuned to the nuances of the game.
"We have a lot better ball skills," Bennett said. "Their technical skills are a lot better. The players that haven't played very much before are coming around very fast."
Along with learning how to handle the ball, EMCC is also searching for a replacement for departed sweeper Haley Ballard.
Bennett will turn his eyes to the middle of the field to help fill the void left by the backfield player.
"We have a couple of returners Stephanie Goldsmith and Alicia Meigs," Bennett said. "They have really stepped up to be team leaders. They will both probably be playing in the midfield. They have better players around them this year, which will help a lot."
The Lady Lions do get some help from their schedule as the team learns and improves at soccer.
Nine of the squad's 13 games will be played on its home turf.
Bennett said he hopes playing on the friendly confines at the EMCC campus will help bolster the team's marks in the win column.
"We are hoping (playing at home) will help a lot," said Bennett, whose team plays the first four games at home. "We will see. We are also hoping to add a few more players to add depth."
EMCC begins its season against Jones County Junior College at 11 a.m. today at home.