With the North Division opener looming for Friday with East Central Community College at 5 p.m. at Ridgeland High School, the Holmes Community College Lady Bulldogs are on a roll to open the 2017 campaign with four straight wins, two in regular play and two in exhibition.
Holmes opened the season with a 6-0 win over Millsaps in exhibition followed by a season-opening win at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 5-1, a 2-0 exhibition win over Delta State on Friday in Ridgeland and followed it with a 3-0 win over Belhaven University on Tuesday.
"We've had a really good start," Women's Associate Head Coach Wesley Noble said. "It started during summer training with the work ethic that the girls brought in. We then came into the season just wanting to improve in every single game that we play. We knew we would have some really tough tasks with the teams that we are playing against. The girls have performed very well during these matches and I feel we've gotten better every game that we've played. From an organizational standpoint we have looked very good, we have yet to give up a goal in the run of play."
Sophomore forward Kendal Walsh from East Rankin Academy has been on fire to open the season. She has seven goals in four games, three coming last night in the 3-0 win over Belhaven. She had one goal versus Millsaps, two versus Gulf Coast and one in the Delta State win. She has set the all-time goals record for women's soccer at Holmes and still has 11 regular season games left to play.
"Kendal does what Kendal does," Noble said. "She's a goal scorer. She is in top form right now and consistently getting better. She is a different player from last year and we are excited to see what she can accomplish throughout the season."
Noble said all areas of play have been doing well so far this season. "The team is beginning to mesh together as we hoped for. Our sophomores are performing at much higher levels than last year and our freshmen have made a massive impact right off the bat."
He credits the team's physical fitness and the ability to organize themselves on the field as keys to the early success. "The organizational standpoint is a big key to it," Noble said. "We want to stay organized. We want to stay disciplined, and I feel like we've done that so far. One thing that helps us is that we are extremely fit. We are extremely deep and we are able to move pieces around and stay fresh.
"The division games are the important ones," he added. "We've had a really good start to the season to prepare us for our division games. We want to continue to improve on the type of soccer we play. As long as we do that we are going to be okay. Everybody in the North is very competitive. Anybody can win. We are just trying to prepare to give ourselves a chance to compete for the North Division again."
Photo by Don Hammack, MGCCC