Thomson High School Varsity Girls' Soccer Coach Jessica Ruark knows her team is better than their overall record indicates this season. Facing a big region home game at The Brickyard in Thomson on Friday, the first year coach is hoping her team can begin turning things around.
Going into Friday's 5 p.m. contest against Liberty County, the Lady Bulldogs' overall record was 3-5-1 and a dismal 1-4 in Region 3-AAA. A win over Liberty County would put Thomson two games below the mark of .500 with the season steadily passing along.
"This new region has been tough; there's no doubt about it," Coach Ruark remarked during a Monday afternoon practice. "But, overall, it's a better region for us to be playing in because it's a lot more competitive."
In recent games, she said her team had shown many signs of improvement.
"We're working to get better and hopefully make the playoffs," Coach Ruark said. "We've improved a lot in the last couple of games."
The last time Thomson played the Liberty County Lady Panthers, Liberty County shut out the Lady Bulldogs 4-0.
Coach Ruark said she is confident that her team can beat Liberty County in the upcoming game.
"There's no doubt that we can beat Liberty County," she said. "We should have beaten them the first time around. We just have to step up our game."
The Thomson schedule doesn't get any easier. This Saturday, the Lady Bulldogs travel to take on Washington County. In the first meeting this season between those two teams, it was Thomson coming out on top, 6-1.
Coach Ruark has been pleased with the play of several team members this season. They include Miranda Barker, Michele Lina Sa, Whitney Hillman, Caitlyn Carpenter and Sarah Kellogg.
"Miranda is my utility player," Coach Ruark said. "She plays her heart out and does an excellent job as a strong forward. Her ball handling skills also are very good."
Lina Sa, a native of Brazil, is a senior who also plays strong forward. She "is a great team player. She knows the game and knows how to move the ball," Coach Ruark said.
Hillman, another senior, also has provided the team with a lot of skills, especially in terms of defense, her coach said.
"Whitney is a very talented defensive player for us," Coach Ruark added. "And so is Carpenter."
Both Hillman and Carpenter play center positions on the defensive side of the ball.
She also praised Kellogg, the team's senior goalkeeper.
"I'm working closely with Sarah right now in hopes of improving her strengths against opponents scoring goals against our team," Coach Ruark said.