With over two weeks of soccer inactivity, the John Milledge Academy girls varsity squad posted a 3-2 region win over Trinity Tuesday. The league victory puts the Trojans back into the running for the final region tournament spot.
A condensed schedule, spring break and other school functions put JMA girls soccer in a dormant state for a fortnight. Head coach Hal Haynes thought the team responded well despite not being in soccer shape.
“We played an excellent first half,” Haynes said. “We played like we need to, making the simple passes instead of trying to hit home runs down the field.”
JMA sprinted to a 3-0 advantage at halftime. Junior Mollie Ritchie paced the offense scoring one from a helper by senior Jess Qualls and one solo. Freshman Hannah Morris struck the other unassisted Trojan goal.
Focus and intensity overcame any conditioning shortfalls early in the contest, as JMA controlled all facets. Seeing its own region hopes slipping away, Trinity responded late in the second half with two goals.
The Trojan defense gave up one scoring run and committed a foul in the box to setup a converted penalty kick for the Crusaders. JMA was able to hold off the late surge with sound fullback and goalkeeper performances.
“The rust and not working out for a couple weeks showed back up on us. The wheels came off in the second half, after going back and forth for the first 25 minutes,” Haynes said.
Freshman goalie Hannah Miller looked more at ease in the net. Senior Maggie Morris impressed Haynes with her defensive work against Trinity.
“Maggie doesn’t get any credit for what she does, but she played a very good defensive game along with the other fullbacks,” Haynes said.
Squeaking out the region win at this point of the season was huge for post season hopes. Currently, JMA is in a tie with Trinity for the final region tournament position.
Both teams face a common opponent in Bulloch Academy the closing regular season stretch. Haynes is confident the Trojan girls can compete with Bulloch in the next matchup with a full 80-minute effort.
“This next game is big for us,” Haynes said. “If we can put it all together and do the simple things well, we are a much better team and can be at a high level.”
A win today over Bulloch in Statesboro places JMA in the region tournament. The matchup begins at 5:30 p.m.