The Shelby High girls’ varsity soccer team is in the process of finding itself — learning its strengths, shoring up its weaknesses and playing together more smoothly.
The goal is to be a factor in the Southwestern 2A Conference race this spring. As part of that learning curve, the Lady Golden Lions are facing a difficult non-league schedule.
That was why a solid Fred T. Foard team (4-2-1) was at Blanton Memorial Stadium on a chilly Wednesday afternoon. Shelby played the Tigers to a scoreless first half, but saw the visitors carry off a 2-1 win.
The Golden Lions found themselves playing on the defensive side of the field most of the first half. One key Sara Mac Woods save helped keep it 0-0 going to the break.
Foard came out in an attacking mode in the second half and quickly got a pair of goals with Abby Walker and Charity Crutchfield making it 2-0 with the Tigers’ out front.
Shelby finally broke through in the final 15 minutes as Katie Bridges found the net thanks to a Wray McDowell assist. The Lady Lions had several other scoring opportunities in the final minutes but couldn't convert.
“It was the same way last night (1-0 loss to Polk County Tuesday), in the last 15 minutes we were attacking much more,” Shelby coach David Steeves said.
“We’ve got to do a better job keeping possession of the ball. We’ve got to make better decisions. We’ve got to play a little less panicked when we’ve got the ball.”
Shelby is now 3-3 (1-0 SWC) and has played most of its opposition tightly this season.
“In the first half, we stayed organized on the defensive end and that helped us,” Steeves said. “In the second half we were just not as organized. We’ve just got to continue to better especially with the little things.”