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Bradwell soccer from practice to field

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POSTED: March 17, 2007 5:12 a.m.
On a sunny afternoon, the soccer teams took to the practice field to prepare for the game against Groves. The boys and girls soccer team face a challenge in growth this year as coach Gregory Cooke and assistant coach Lauren Drury are met with young players. This year, the girls only have four starters returning and the boys only have five.
“We have a young team. We lost a lot of seniors last year for both the boys and girls,” said Cooke. “We have a rebuilding team this year; we have a couple of freshman starting, which is unusual and it will be a true test for them.”
Although the boys beat Beach 10-0 on Feb. 16, Cooke saw it as an opportunity to teach his players about tactics.
“It’s always a challenge,” he said. “It was a challenge in different aspects (against Beach) because it showed us things we really needed to work and improve on and things that we needed to cover in practice,”
The girls had yet to play because their opponents had players competing in regional and state basketball.
“The girls are coming into this (game) cold because they have not played yet,” Cooke commented. “They are going to have to work that much harder to get into it.”
Cooke spoke to his players during practice to instill in them the importance of unity and teamwork as he prepares for a tough region schedule.
“It will be a first true test of how competitive the region will be this year,” Cooke said. “Groves is usually a quality team and we are usually a quality team, and it’s a good test on what we are going to do the rest of the season. We have a big schedule coming up with Groves, Camden, Windsor Forest and Jenkins. We need a winning season this year and we need to make the playoffs. I expect a lot out of them, I never settle for anything less.”
The pay off came on Tuesday as the Tigers traveled to Groves and the boys team took home another win in overtime, 2-1.
Chris Shuster and Reggie Battle each scored for the Tigers, while goalkeeper Mike Griffin made 15 saves.
“Taking a win in overtime helps us,” said Cooke. “It showed we were in much better shape, beating Groves is a good step forward and showed that we are starting to work together.”
Although the girls lost 2-0 they were able to dominate for most of the first half to hold Groves scoreless.
Alison Burrull and Danielle Jacobs played well on offense for the Lady Tigers, while Colleen Walter made several saves in goal.
“The score does not match the game,” Cooke said. “We had three kicks hit the crossbars in the first half.”
The second half is where the girls’ team lost some of their momentum giving Groves the opportunities to score.
“Fitness affected them toward the end of the game, something we will work on in practice,” said Cooke. “It’s a matter of freshman jitters, we can do it (win) but we need to finish the game.”
The Tigers face Camden County on Saturday at home. The girls hit the field at 11 a.m. with the boys’ game to immediately follow.
 

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