By Tim Donnelly
Recently on ESPN Ithaca’s Between the Lines, host Tim Donnelly spoke with Ithaca High School Girls Soccer Head Coach Maureen Whitehead. Whitehead’s team opened their season with six consecutive victories. Here is a snippet of that conversation; to hear the full interview, visit ESPN Ithaca’s on-demand PodCenter at ESPNIthaca.com.
Tim Donnelly: Let’s start with this early season hot streak. You start your season 6-0, how has your team been able to get the better of your opponent in every game so far this season?
Maureen Whitehead: You know, it all started actually in preseason, in fact, probably before preseason. The girls have known each other for a long time and, even I’d say last year, there wasn’t this chemistry of working for each other. It was almost working for themselves as opposed to the team and we spent some time before the season started, before preseason started, and we talked about that and talked about what it means to be part of a team and they are buying in, and they bought in. So, they came into preseason pretty fit and willing to work for each other regardless of where they fit in the lineup, where they fit on the roster. Everybody is embracing their role and because of that, we’re probably stronger than I anticipated.
TD: As a coach, what is your ideal style? What are you trying to get these players to play like?
MW: Unpredictable. What we are trying to do is be unpredictable, and we have, in our six games, we’ve had to make significant adjustments at halftime in three of those games. Significant as in our attacking strategy. Significant adjustment as in changing the formation. We have some key personnel that are a part of our attacking strategy changing their individual role within the game to adjust for what the teams are giving us. We had some very close games with Horseheads and Corning. I love those kind of games where you go in and you don’t know if you are going to win or lose and if you play as hard as you can and you lose those games, it’s still going to make you a better team and better players.
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Between the Lines with Tim Donnelly can be heard weekdays 4-6 p.m. on ESPN Ithaca (1160 AM/107.1 FM) and at ESPNIthaca.com.
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