Fri., Feb. 9th, 2007 Lady Rebels hope to continue momentum against struggling MHS
Heated rivals Lee and Midland High face off today at Grande Communications stadium. One, an offensive force with a proven goal-scorer. The other, a defensive stalwart with a recent shortage of firepower. Lee enters the game in great shape with one loss on its resume. Midland High has two wins to its credit and has yet to beat a District 3-5A goalkeeper. It appears the Lady Rebels might have the outright upperhand in their contest today and what it takes to finally break a streak of seven consecutive losses to MHS.
Lee (5-1-1 overall, 1-0 District 3-5A) enters the game with no serious injuries, a respectable offense and a clear-cut leader producing for the Lady Rebels.
Junior Rachael Solari, District 3-5A's leader scorer, has helped lead a young, improving and successful Lee team.
"We have a whole new team. It's cool to see everyone playing together," Solari said. "It's really exciting. It's been a long time since we've beaten MHS."
She credits the Lady Rebels' offensive prowess with an opposite field formation of Midland High's. Lee leaves three defenders back and pushes five into the midfield while MHS has slipped a midfielder back from its 4-4-2 set to create five defenders.
It is the ultimate symbol of two programs at opposite sides of town that want nothing more than to beat each other.
"For the girls there's only one game bigger than this," Lee coach Amanda Melchor explained. "And that's the second time they play them."
Melchor has preached offense all season to her Lady Rebels and it has paid off. Although they have played only one district game, they lead the district in goals per game. Lee beat Odessa High 2-0 to open district on Saturday.
Yet, Melchor continues to press for even more scoring opportunities out of her young squad. It is quite a stark contrast to a traditional offensive powerhouse at Midland High. The scoreless first two district games have the Lady Bulldogs (2-6-1, 0-2) wondering how to find the light switch.
"I'm not fooled by Midland High's offensive output. I'll believe it when I see it," Melchor said. "Right now, I know Midland High's a great team and they have been the last four years."
Lee has not beaten their rival since Jan. 24, 2003, a 3-2 shootout win. Midland High fell 5-4 in the shootout.
The Lady Bulldogs of '07 have yet to find the back of the net in district, but have had stifling defense that the Lady Rebels will have to work hard to break.
MHS coach Scott Hodkinson said he will start the match in a 5-3-2 set, with the five defenders back, as he has through the first two district games, but that could shift to the 4-4-2 as the game progresses. He said the schemes are all about keeping the girls comfortable.
"'I'll call it whatever you guys want to call it as long as you're comfortable,'" Hodkinson said he told his girls in practice. "We would want to err on the side of caution. It's looked good and we have prevented scoring opportunities. (My defenders) have been tenacious."
It shapes up to be a great match of a strong offense trying to break a solid defense. But Lee is not taking Midland High's speedy, if thin, upfield for granted.