Lady Rockets blank Tigerettes in opener
Marshall County and Forrest jumped head first into the 2016 season as the longtime county rivals opened the season against one another for the second year in a row with the Lady Rockets coming out on top via a dominant 5-0 win.
The Lady Rockets scored four second half goals to stun the Tigerettes, who started out the 2015 season with a school record 11 straight wins.
"We've had a lot of young players that have stepped up and we've worked on a lot of things over the summer," Forrest first-year coach Nicole Pickle said. "I think that we've just put in a lot of time and I think that showed tonight. There are obviously some things we've got to improve on to make it further in the season but I think that we had a good first game."
The Lady Rockets were paced on the offensive side of the field by two standout seniors, Brynn Colvin and Haley Lowe, who each scored two goals in the contest.
"I worked really hard on getting better this summer, trying to improve my quickness," Lowe stated. "I think the difference (between this and last year's team) is the amount of work we put in during the off season."
Marshall County graduated three full-time starters from last year's record breaking squad but those starters (Yesenia Eugenia-Martin Methodist, Abbey Redferrin-Freed Hardeman, and Alexis Ford- Martin Methodist, basketball) all went on to sign athletic scholarships and their absence was heavily felt on the Tigerettes' side of the ball.
"New year, new team----plain and simple," Marshall County coach Mark Redferrin stated. "Some of those goals were just unfortunate errors but you play good teams who've got good players, they're gonna make plays."
"Brynn (Colvin) is by far one of the superior players in the mid-state and if you give her space and time and she's going to punish you," Redferrin added. "But, you know, we have a new team, new personnel, new lineup, formations. Everything is new and so we've got a lot of growing to do. "
The Tigerettes put one of the most dominant defenses in the state on the field during the 11 game season opening win streak of 2015, which started out with a 4-2 win over Forrest in the opener, giving up a meager 6 goals during that time span but Forrest managed to come close to that total just 60 minutes into the season.
The first half turned out every bit of the battle that was promised before the game started with Colvin scoring the lone goal by either team with just under 30 left in the first half.
The county rivals struggled to get anything going for the rest of the half and the Tigerettes remained within striking distance as the final period started.
The Lady Rockets had other plans as Colvin and Lowe teamed up for three goals all within the first 15 minutes to start the second half, putting the game out of reach.
"I think the first half it was just nerves," Pickle observed. "It's the first game of the season and we're trying to work out some stuff and I think once we kind of settled down into a rhythm and got going and once we found that pace we stuck with it."
After a dominant seven-year Forrest win streak over Marshall County was broken in the opening game last season, the Lady Rockets seemed intent on bringing that momentum back to the north end of the county and did so in convincing fashion, scoring more goals on the Tigerettes in the second half than Marshall County gave up total over the first five games of the 2015 season.
The Tigerettes look to get back on track on Thursday night but the road will not be easy to pass as last year's second leading scorer, Patience Ferguson, went down with an ankle injury late in the second half.
Marshall County will also be facing longtime district powerhouse Spring Hill, who slammed the door shut on the best season in Tigerette history in the opening match of the 2015 District Tournament.
"You know, it's just move on," Redferrin stated. "Sometimes you're going to get your hat handed to you, so to speak, and you have to learn from it. We're gonna watch film, we're gonna see where we can improve and we're gonna work on (improving). That's all there is----whether you're winning or losing, you've always got to be improving."