By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — One of the best teams in Division II soccer is Harding Academy.
Millington Lady Trojans coaches Rosemary Boswell and William Carter familiarized themselves with the resume’ of the Lady Lions prior to the opening whistle Aug. 31 at the Harding Academy Stadium.
The Lady Trojans knew Harding Academy was unbeaten, no team scored on the Lady Lions and Harding’s lineup featured several club players.
Just 5 minutes and 4 seconds into the game, Lady Trojan senior Koreena Bedford took a pass from teammate Keria McGhee racking along the side of the field. Bedford cut toward the goal and crossed a shot into the net giving Millington a 1-0 lead.
“Nobody has scored on these guys all year,” Carter said. “So when we did that I think we just made them mad. They were really good at crossing. So it was my mistake in the first half so we switched to a new defensive scheme in the second half. They caught us off guard two more times.”
Harding Academy led 3-1 after 40 minutes. The Lady Lions kept up the pressure throughout the second half with 5 more goals to prevail 8-1.
After Bedford’s goal, Harding tied the game at the 23:53 mark. The Lady Lions took the advantage for good when Michelle Betancourt blasted a shot into the net with 17 minutes and 44 seconds left in the first half.
The Lady Lions closed out the first half of scoring when Ashley Henderson used a couple of moves in the middle of the Millington defense to create space. Henderson aimed and connected with a goal.
In the beginning of the second half, Harding Academy made the score 4-1 just 6 minutes into action. The Lady Lions scored on a corner kick.
Among the other Lady Lion goals in the final 34 minutes came courtesy of Chloe Birdwell and Henderson.
“It’s a learning curve,” Carter said. “We knew coming into this game this team hadn’t been scored on by anybody. We like playing here because their field is different. We get a chance to play on good turf just in case we happen to get lucky and make it Murfreesboro this year.
“We can say we’ve seen it before kind of thing,” he concluded. “Plus we get to see a good caliber team. It’s good for our girls in a non-district game to get a measurement from a team that might be better than you. We have more resources and high-caliber players. So you see what you need to do if you want to go deep into the playoffs.”