Bradwell soccer coaches Lindsay Guyett and Tommy Oglesby started voluntary conditioning in November. They say they’re starting to see the hard work pay off.
In addition to getting their players in shape, the coaches have been working to build morale and a sense of family among the players.
"We practice right after each other and everyone is getting along really good and working hard together. Everyday we say a quote from Mia Hamm that really stresses the importance of the team," Oglesby said.
Guyett is entering her first year as the girl’s soccer coach and is looking forward to a great season on the soccer field.
"Last year the girls made the playoffs and that is something that we want to build and continue this year," Guyett said.
Guyett is a 2002 graduate of Bradwell Institute and played soccer when she was in school. Guyett graduated from UGA in 2005 and Oklahoma State University in 2007. She is in her fourth year teaching in the science department at Bradwell.
The Lady Tigers will showcase some depth with a combination of seniors and underclassman. Senior goalie Bekkah Smith, Danielle Durham, Breanna Lindsay, Kayla DeJesus and Ashley Riles are among the returning players.
"We will have some depth with nine seniors. But we also have some green players that haven’t been around the high school game as long, but they are starting to pick up the game and they have been making progress," Guyett said.
Players also have been polishing their skill sets with Saturday clinics.
"We have players on both sides of the ball that are starting to step up. We have some very well rounded players that could fit a variety of roles on either side of the ball. When we start making a line up we are really looking for the position that best fits them," Guyett said.
Guyett and Oglesby have made it a point to make sure that their teams are there to support the other Bradwell athletic teams. They have been very active as a cheering section at the basketball games.
"We want to be supportive of the other sports the way it used to be. I just really am grateful to Bradwell Principal Mr. Scott Carrier and the whole Bradwell community. It has been such a smooth transition for me this year," Guyett said.
Finishing 8-7 last year and missing the playoffs made Oglesby hungrier as a coach in the offseason.
Oglesby begins his second season with a team loaded with experience and senior leadership. However, the most important thing that Oglesby hopes his team will showcase this year is ownership.
"We are really working on being a possession-driven team that will be able to control the ball and create good shots. We will be able to control the clock and the pace of the game better. We want to get ball outside the back similar to a basketball fast break.," Oglesby said.
Senior midfielder David Miller and striker Will Davis will play a huge role in the Tigers’ transition. Miller also is one of the strongest vocal leaders on the team.
The Tigers also are installing offensive sets that will allow them to attack an opponent’s weakness.
Defensively, Oglesby is keeping things simple so it will cut down on the mistakes.
"We want to pressure the ball, make sure the field is balanced, and cover the opposing player moving the ball and our goal," Oglesby said.
Oglesby lost sweeper Michael Subject to graduation. Subject is now playing collegiately at Lindenwood University in Illinois. Alberto Lavonia will be the Tigers’ sweeper and Oglesby is expecting good things from him.
"Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I think we are good enough this season to finish at the top of the region. We are working hard and the players really seem to be buying into the system that we are using on offense and defense," Oglesby said.
Both Bradwell teams open the 2011 season Friday night at Effingham County.