Despite rebuilding, DHS wants to continue winning tradition

Saturday, August 12, 2017
Dyersburg head coach Musa Manneh talks to his team during practice earlier this week as the Lady Trojans get ready for the 2017 season, which opens Tuesday at Milan.

JASON PEEVYHOUSE

jpeevyhouse@stategazette.com

With the Dyersburg soccer program facing another season in 2017 after losing at least one all-state player to graduation, the Lady Trojans are faced with a rebuilding project – but they are not shying away from the challenge.

“It’s been very encouraging,” Dyersburg head coach Musa Manneh said. “I think the players, myself, the coaching staff all know what we have to do.

“We’re not going to hide from it – we’re in the middle of rebuilding.”

Manneh adds the players on the 2017 Lady Trojan roster have accepted the challenge that lies in front of them.

“You can see it on their faces and you can see it in their eyes,” Manneh said. “In practice, they’re not going any slower.

“They’re going hard and they’re trying to get better, so I am excited for them.”

The Lady Trojans are a younger team this season than in the last couple campaigns as Dyersburg has only two seniors on its roster this year.

Carlee Jones and Lydia Ball have been the leaders of the team this preseason according to Manneh.

“Carlee is just a natural-born leader,” Manneh said. “She’s our vocal leader.

“Lydia just leads by example. Both of them lead in different ways.”

Below them is a solid junior class, one that Manneh hopes can help the senior duo in the leadership of the team.

Meridith Kerber is one of those juniors looking to provide a spark for the Lady Trojans this season, especially on offense along with teammate Destiny Shelby.

“They bring a lot to our team,” Manneh said. “At the same time, they are very humble.

“They play their role and they help lead in their own way. It is good to see. They are two of our best players but they don’t carry themselves that way around the team.”

The Lady Trojans will have one new addition to the team this season which will play a key part on the defense as freshman Elizabeth McDonald will step into the goalkeeper role and replace last year’s keeper Jenna Porter.

“She basically puts all our fears to rest,” Manneh said. “Having lost a senior goalkeeper who did great for us, to have a freshman step in there and calm our nerves, that’s refreshing.”

Manneh added the potential to have the spot filled for the next four years does put his mind at ease.

Though the Lady Trojans are rebuilding, the goals Manneh has set for them have not changed compared to previous seasons.

“This is a team that wins – Dyersburg is built on winning,” Manneh said. “That is part of the pressure that us as coaches and players have to deal with.

“Nothing short of winning the district then we’ll see what region brings. But, the ultimate goal is getting to state. We’re not running away from that.”

Getting through district may have gotten a little easier – numbers-wise – as the Lady Trojans District 14AA only has four teams in it after last fall’s reclassification. Crockett County, Obion County Central and South Gibson will be Dyersburg’s district opposition this season.

“Just playing teams we are familiar with is a good thing,” Manneh said. “But, the competition is still there.

“We know we have to fight, have to work hard, to win district.”

The Lady Trojans get their season underway on Tuesday when they travel to Milan at 6 p.m.

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