Playing in one of the toughest, if not the toughest, district in the state has been a challenge for the Marshall County Tigerettes.
Despite facing a brutal district slate, the returning core of players are building on a solid preseason and eager to begin the 2021 season, according to coach Mike Livingston.
Earlier this preseason, the Tigerettes participated in a seven-on-seven competition at Columbia, which Marshall County had a strong showing in.
“We went to a seven-on-seven contest in Columbia that we had not gone to in four years. Four years ago, we weren't as competitive. This year we brought our varsity over there and we were undefeated through the first two days of the contest,” Livingston said.
In the match for third in the competition, the teams had to navigate different rules that eventually led to a slim loss for the Tigerettes.
“We had some interesting rules where we had to pull a player off every minute until we were left with a keeper and a striker. And the other coach, which was Columbia, did the same thing. Then the ref made a call that went against us and then they won on a PK,” Livingston said.
Still, the Tigerettes built on the positives from the event and carried it over to a preseason scrimmage at Fayetteville earlier this week.
“We had a game with Fayetteville yesterday (Monday) and we had a few injuries that were unfortunate, but we stayed with them most of the game. I was really excited to have a very competitive game. The girls were pleased with their efforts,” he added.
The Tigerettes return a solid core of returning player and are led by Lizzie Diaz, Paige Stiles and Rachel Werner.
“We have a good group of returning players. How they go is how the team will go. They're the natural leaders and take care of the business on the field. They've been leaders before this season. I've asked them to guide the freshmen that came out,” Livingston said.
That trio of key returning players will have to help cultivate the younger players on the field, as the programs that feed into the high school, including youth and middle school, have been put on pause.
“Because of COVID the youth program isn't going on right now. Middle school does not have soccer at this time. So we have to develop them as they come to us,” Livingston said.
Those returners will also have to help the team against a talented district slate.
For the Tigerettes to find success, Livingston hopes his team can springboard momentum off the non-district slate against the top-tiered district competition.
“We're hopeful when we get to non-district games we can be very competitive. Our first step is to be competitive in our non-district games. We're still in a district with Page, Spring Hill, Giles County and Central Magnet. These are all powerhouse schools that are usually in the top 10. Usually out of our district comes the state champion, which makes it difficult to be as competitive as we would like,” he said.
The Tigerettes open the regular season at home against Cornersville on August 16.