November 20, 2013 10:30:45 AM
Effie Morrison didn't hesitate.
As soon as she heard the official's whistle signaling a hand ball, Morrison looked to the sideline.
"Let me take it," the junior midfielder said to her coaches.
New Hope High School soccer coaches Mary Nagy and Will Taylor didn't hesitate, either, and beckoned Morrison to race over from the left wing to the center of the field. Morrison rewarded her coaches' confidence in her by executing an expert chip shot that sailed over the head of goalkeeper Alex Burns.
"I have always been more confident in those kind of kicks," Morrison said. "I feel I can get the right angle on it, and I did it last year to Caledonia. I am real confident on those kicks. I feel I could have gotten it in really quick."
New Hope (4-0) used Morrison's goal and another by Farris Bradley off a rebound to defeat Caledonia 2-0 in the first game of a girls-boys doubleheader. In the nightcap, Andre Campos scored two goals, including a clinical finish from distance, and Roger Shilling added another to lift New Hope to a 3-1 victory.
Morrison said she lifts her right leg up more when she contacts the ball to try to drop it right over the goalkeeper's head. She said she uses more of an angle when she tries to curve the ball. She said repetition has helped her become more comfortable being able to place her chips and shots from distance on frame.
"At first, I was like, 'No, you're crazy. There is no way just picking up my knee is going to make the ball drop that quick,' " Morrison said. "I believe it was coach Will who told me. But I got out there and I drive through the ball and pick up my knee a little more and it works pretty good. It took a little while."
Morrison's goal helped New Hope re-gain the momentum after Caledonia started quickly and three solid scoring chances. New Hope also had two in the first 10 minutes, but it took Morrison's chip shot with less than 10 minutes to play in the first half to change the tide. Less than three minutes later, Bradley heeded the wishes of her coaches by following her shot and collected Burns' save of her initial chance and tucked the second opportunity home.
Nagy said she and Taylor typically allow their players to take free kicks if they are that eager. She said Morrison scored on a free kick Saturday just like she did Tuesday night.
"She is just dedicated to her sport," Nagy said. "She has lived soccer probably since she could walk. She wants perfection, and she expects nothing but the best from herself and she works hard to make sure that she gets it."
Caledonia coach Jason Forrester lamented his team's inability to capitalize on its early pressure. He also praised Morrison for bending the free kick down just where she needed to to convert. Despite the loss, Forrester feels Caledonia, which is coming off a playoff appearance last season, has the potential to compete for a division title and a return trip to the postseason.
"They're coming together really well," said Forrester, whose team slipped to 1-2. "They are possessing the ball really well. We're going to have an opportunity to do what we did in district last year, maybe a little better. ... I really expect them to do really well in district. ... I think they have a chance to win the district if they play the way they are capable of."
In the boys game, Campos' right-footed shot from 20-plus yards curved inside the upper right corner to give his team a 1-0 lead. Kobe Vansomeren answered by slipping a shot under goalkeeper Wells Davis to send the game to halftime tied at 1. Shilling cashed in a nice buildup by JD Earhart, Bryan Vogel, and Campos to score what proved to be the game-winner with a little more than 30 minutes to play. Campos' goal nearly 10 minutes later helped seal the deal.
Davis played with a cast on his right arm that extended just over the elbow. His play in the first half kept the game scoreless and enabled the Trojans to seize the momentum.
"My arm doesn't bother me," said Davis, who hurt the elbow in September at a baseball showcase. He hopes to get the cast off later this week. "My felt side stays the same, but going to my week side I have to turn my body and just throw my left hand across. In the Columbus game, I had one bounce off my cast and go in, so I realized I just have to throw one hand across and hope for the best."
n In other soccer action Tuesday, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science girls soccer team defeated West Point 7-0. Senior captain Sabrina Moore led MSMS with three goals. Senior Rachel Jones had two goals, and junior Marian Amundsen added one goal. Junior India Yarborough added another goal and two assists.
"We were pleased with the overall team effort tonight," MSMS coach Chuck Yarborough said. "It was great to have so many players contributing so early in the season."
Junior goalkeeper Megan Levine had four saves to preserve the shutout.
In the nightcap, the MSMS boys defeated West Point 2-0. Seniors Alex Carlyle and Jason Jennings scored for the Blue Wave.
"Very proud of the boys tonight," MSMS coach Kyle Dempsey said. "They've put in a lot of hard work this preseason, and it's already showing on the field."
On Thursday, MSMS will open Class 3A, Region 1 action when it plays host to Louisville.
n Columbus boys 3, Amory 1: Charles Stanback, Jordan Dean, and James Hayes scored goals for the Falcons.
Hayes, Daniel Hayward, and Derrick Beckom had assists.
"Amory is a very technical team," Columbus coach Ben Moore said. "Coach (Nathan) Clayton does an excellent job coaching the technical aspect of the game. Our boys played unselfishly by connecting passes on one- and two-touch passes resulting in great possession. I am proud of the boys."
n Amory girls 6, Columbus 2: Kameryn Lang had both goals for the Lady Falcons. Maya Rush and Bre Watson had assists.
"We scored first, but coach Clayton's team was too much for us," Moore said. "They moved the ball laterally too well and our defense couldn't keep up. We are improving in possession and finishing, but we need to work on defensive marking."
n Columbus boys 76, East Oktibbeha 44: At Columbus, Brandon Porter led the Falcons (2-1) with 16 points, followed by C.J. Scott with 12 points and D.D. Walker with 11 points.
Columbus will play Friday at West Okitbbeha and Saturday at New Albany.
n Hebron Christian girls 65, Calhoun Academy 35: Rebekah Falkner led the Lady Eagles (2-0) with 17 points.
n Hebron Christian boys 57, Calhoun Academy 25: Hayden Carty paced the Eagles (1-1) with 24 points.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.