Lady Huskies preparing for scrimmages, season opener

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
The Lady Huskies soccer team is aiming for the playoffs this year. Some team membersa are, from left, freshman Karlie Long, freshman Madison Quinton, Coach Derral McBride, junior Bailey Henley and senior Addie Young. Photo by Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

Coach Derral McBride’s Lady Huskies soccer players are already hard at work, getting in shape and working on techniques so they’ll be ready when scrimmages start later this month and the regular season starts in March.

The Lady Huskies narrowly missed the playoffs by a single game a year ago and excitement is already building about the possibilities for improvement in 2019.

“Just off last year, coming that close to the playoffs, the upperclassmen have really stepped up,” McBride said. As he was speaking, a group of his players were working out on Pawhuska High School’s sparkling new artificial turf field (the football field doubles as a soccer pitch). McBride looked and noticed that junior Bailey Henley was busy teaching a point of technique to a younger player.

McBride said the older players have an idea where they want this season to go, and they’re making preparations.

“They know where they want to be,” he said.

Pawhuska’s team will be larger this year, having grown from perhaps 15-16 girls a year ago to potentially 24-25 for 2019.

McBride said the 2019 squad will be moving at a faster pace than the 2018 version did, pushing harder and putting pressure on opponents.

“This year we’re going to go a hundred miles an hour,” he said. McBride said he prefers a faster pace of play, and he’s challenging his players to make it hard for him to decide who to put in the match.

“I want you guys to make it hard on me to decide who the starters are going to be,” he recalled telling the players. There will be new uniforms this season, and the team is seeking business sponsors, McBride said. Anyone interested in supporting the Lady Huskies can contact the coach at derralmcbride@pawhuskadistrict.org. The soccer program will honor sponsors with banners, he said.

McBride said the Lady Huskies are looking to play in a scrimmage tournament Feb. 23 in Ponca City and hope to play another scrimmage a couple of days later. The season officially begins March 1 and Pawhuska’s first game may be March 7 or March 9, he said. He’s looking at an overall regular season schedule of about 15 games.

McBride said he and Track-and-Field Coach Mark Frye have coordinated their schedules so that girls playing soccer will also be able to run track. That way, the athletes will get a lot of their running done during track practice, and they will be able to use more of soccer practice to work on fundamentals of the game.

McBride said he is also encouraging his players to budget time to engage in community service, such as reading to elementary school pupils and making nursing home visits.

“The community gives so much to us; we just want to give back to the community,” he said.