By Gene Phelps
Charde Hannah, an offensive force two years ago as a sophomore, has returned to the soccer field to play for Tupelo’s Lady Wave.
Hannah, who sat out last year, joins junior forward Katie Taylor, who led the team last season with 25 goals.
“It’s awesome having Charde back,” Taylor said. “We have a forward who can score any time she touches the ball.”
Tupelo first-year coach Hannah Kimbrough, a former Lady Wave and Ole Miss standout player, knows all about the potential powerful scoring punch her team possesses.
“Charde is very quick and so is Katie,” she said. “We need to involve our midfield and work on getting the ball to our forward’s feet.”
Kimbrough plans to use a standard 4-4-2 alignment that features an aggressive offensive attack. She will also look to a strong defense that features senior Abbie Banko and sophomore Liza Wise. Outside midfielder Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth is another key returnee from last year’s team that lost in the 6A state finals.
“Our job is to defend,” Banko said. “We’ve also got to get the ball distributed to our attackers.”
One crucial role Kimbrough must fill is goalkeeper, where Kat Stratton, an Alabama signee, played. Mary Kate Grayson, a freshman, and sophomore Maggie Houin, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, are the candidates.
“We’re a little banged up to start the year,” Kimbrough said. “That’s expected because they’re all finishing up with club soccer. I’d rather them be banged up now and go into the playoffs healthy.”
Banko believes this team has the potential to win a state championship. Tupelo has lost in the finals the last two seasons and in the North finals two years prior.
“We’ve been so close to winning,” she said. “Nobody actually believes we can win it. We’re all working hard to be the best we can be, work as a team and do all the little things right.”