MURRAY — A scrimmage, or a regular-season game, no matter what it’s classified, the Murray High Lady Tigers approached last night’s game against Henry County as if it was the real deal but ultimately lost 3-0. That’s not to say there weren’t bright spots. In fact, there were many.
Originally scheduled as a regular-season game, the contest last night had to be altered due to some weird scheduling situations but ultimately it was ruled a scrimmage for both teams.
“Tennessee doesn’t start their season until next week, so I thought we could classify it (tonight) as a game and they could classify it as a scrimmage but you can’t do that,” Traylor said. “So, we actually had a scrimmage still available, so we called KHSAA and they said, ‘Yeah you can scrimmage.’ I just didn’t want to lose (playing) the game because it’s a home game. It was a game to us but it just doesn’t go on the record, so I guess technically we’ll kickoff next week.”
A final score of 3-0 could be misleading because the Lady Tigers were on the cusp of scoring multiple times and the defense played as good as head coach Shauna Traylor could have hoped. In the late stages of the first half with a little under two minutes left Henry County got on the board with a strike that no goalkeeper could’ve stopped. The shot hit the inside of the far post and bounce in for a 1-0 lead.
To start the second half, Angela Gierhart, who had been shifted to a forward position, made a dazzling run into the box and the defender fell. Gierhart scored with the right foot just as the whistle blew from midfield. The call was a shove and the goal was disallowed.
Minutes later Henry County scored their second of the game to go up 2-0. The Lady Tigers found themselves with a few more opportunities in the second half but a couple of nice saves and some near misses were all they could muster.
Meanwhile, Henry County added one last goal in the 68th minute and that would be the final score of the game.
“I think the backline did great and we just have to find a way to finish some goals,” Traylor said. “We had a few opportunities to finish. So, just putting it in the back of the net (offensively). But, great from the back and even from the midfield. We saw a lot of good things and I think that was a good matchup for us. If we could’ve gotten at least one or two in, it would’ve been a different game.”
All things considered, the Lady Tigers did well to play Henry County as closely as they did. Goalkeeper Anastasia Bryson is just a freshman and made some stops and allowed a few goals, but the big takeaway was that she stayed poised and ready.
“She’s hurting a little bit, but she’s going to be alright,” Traylor said. “So we are just giving her some confidence and building her up as a freshman. She’s just trying to learn a new position that’s really hard because we need someone in there. So like I said, building her up and I think when she makes a save it’s exciting for her and her distribution is good so, we are just keeping her positive and going strong.”
In the second half, moments after her near goal-scoring run, Gierhart picked up a man-to-man defender. Typically this tactic is only used when a particular player is giving the defense some trouble and Gierhart was applying pressure at every opportunity.
“I told her it’s going to happen,” Traylor said. “People are going to know that they need to do that and you’re just going to have to overcome it. It’s just one of those things that’s going to be difficult but you’ve got to figure out a way to get past it and not just not play.”
Next up for the Lady Tigers will be their official regular-season opener against Mayfield in the All-A Classic on Aug. 20. They will have plenty of time to plan and prepare but Traylor said she wished they had at least one game in between.
“We’ll play Mayfield, and as long as we win, St. Mary, next week so it’ll be All A Classic,” Traylor said. “It’s crazy. I really would like another game in there, but it’s hard to do this late in the season.”
Traylor also said that they have a few things to work on this week as they prepare for the game against Mayfield but most important on that list is finishing goal scoring opportunities.
“Definitely some finishing and just increasing the ball up the field, because I even think defensively all around we did pretty well,” Traylor said. “So now just working the ball up the field and finding a way to put it in the back of the net. We lost some goal scorers last year and I think Angela can be that for us and we have another player who is out (Hollis Bourque), but it’ll come around. I’d rather it be now than at the end of the season. If we can find some goal scorers now, then when we add in another one, hopefully, we will just top it off.”