While first-year coach Carissa Harrison doesn’t have unrealistic expectations for the Stone High Lady ’Cats soccer team, she does expect to see improvement over a sub-.500 2018-19 team.
“I do set high expectations for any team I coach,” she said. “I expect us to win more than half our games this season.”
While this will be her first varsity head coaching position, Harrison has experience at coaching at the middle school level and has coached several select teams on the Gulf Coast.
A native of Hurley, she brings an aggressive offense to Stone High.
“We’ve changed everything,” she said. “We’ll be focusing much more on ball control and possession.
“There won’t be any kicking the ball down the field and chasing after it.”
The Lady ’Cats will suffer, slightly from inexperience.
“we have a really young team,” Harrison said. “But, they’re young and talented.”
Talented enough that the coach expects her charges to contend for a Region 7-4A title.
“Poplarville is really good and I expect it to between us and them in the region,” she said.
The top two teams from the five-team region qualify for postseason play.
Harrison will look to senior Brianna Lee and sophomore Lainey Cunningham for leadership and also believes sophomore Morgan Pickering will be an offensive force on the field.
Senior Mackenzie McLure Leah Capiola will share goaltending duties.
The team has so far gone 3-2-1 with a pair of victories over Pearl River Central and another against 6-A Harrison Central.
The team has fallen to West Jones and Newton County.
Both of those are 5-A schools and West Jones is a perennial power on the pitch.
“They go to state every year,” the coach said.
With a bevy of underclassmen, the Lady ’Cats look to be a force for the next several seasons.