November 18, 2009 10:40:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Raevonne Shoemaker takes her role as goalkeeper seriously.
The Starkville High School junior knows she has to be focused on a match at all times and has to know what her teammates are doing on the field.
"(Goalkeepers) have to be the strong foundation," Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker has only allowed one goal this season for the Lady Yellow Jackets and has recorded three shutouts, including Tuesday''s 2-0 home victory against New Hope High School.
Starkville coach Anna Albritton was glad to see her squad continue to play good defense while getting used to a new idea on offense.
"They are tough girls and love being part of the defense," Albritton said. "They''ve kept us in a lot of games."
After a scoreless first half, the Lady Yellow Jackets were able to get goals from Morgan Miller in the 48th minute overall and Carolina Berryhill in the 71st minute.
Berryhill was glad to see Shoemaker keep New Hope from scoring while she and Miller was able to find the net on the other end.
"She''s probably one of the best goalkeepers that I know," Berryhill said. "She''s really aggressive and she knows how to get into the game. When she wants the ball, she goes after it. She doesn''t back off at all."
Starkville (3-1) defeated Horn Lake and Desoto Central (1-0 each) on penalty kicks earlier this season so tight matches don''t bother Shoemaker.
"I love challenges and I really feel like the best comes out in me whenever (penalty kicks) happen," Shoemaker said.
Albritton said the Lady Yellow Jackets are scratching out what wins they can early in the season until the offense can catch up with the defense.
After implementing the new idea on offense and working on it Monday, Albritton does see improvement.
"They actually created shots for themselves," Albritton said. "It''s the beginning of the season and we''re doing OK, but we are no where close to where we want to be."
Albritton said the offense must make huge strides before playing the likes of Tupelo and Center Hill.
As for New Hope (1-2), coach Mary Nagy has a young team with a seventh grader and sophomore up top and two seniors on the back, which are the only two seniors on the field.
"With it being 0-0 at halftime, that was a big victory for us," Nagy said.
Albritton was impressed with the way the Lady Trojans stayed and said they made it "scary for a while."
"I didn''t know if we could pull it off," Albritton said. "New Hope has improved. They are a better team than they''ve been the last couple of years."
Nagy was proud of the work of New Hope goalkeeper Brandi Brantley, who had 18 saves against Starkville.
"We lost our goalie to an injury during the softball season," Nagy said. "Brandi has stepped up and filled in the slot. We have been pleased with her progress."
n Starkville 5, New Hope 0 (B): Alvaro Pichardo scored three goals and had an assist as the Yellow Jackets remained unbeaten at 4-0.
"He''s pretty good and we just didn''t have an answer for him," New Hope coach Jerry Byrd said of Pichardo.
Pichardo scored the first and second goals, and Kase Kingery scored another before halftime to give Starkville a 3-0 lead.
After Daniel Fumo had the first goal of the second half for the Yellow Jackets, Pichardo put the finishing touches on the scoring.
"He''s got speed," Starkville coach Brian Bennett. "He''s hard to defend when he''s really pushing it and going fast."
Byrd gave the Yellow Jackets credit, but liked the way the Trojans battled and "gave a pretty good account" of themselves.
New Hope (0-3) plays host to Columbus on Thursday in a match that was originally scheduled for Friday.
2. Defense has been strong suit for MSU men COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Columbus boys advance in Class 6A tournament HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. New Hope boys win home finale HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
5. MSU women will face biggest test at South Carolina COLLEGE SPORTS