Leland Strang woke up Tuesday morning with the knowledge that she was about to be the first female to coach a soccer match for GPS.
She went to sleep that night with the pleasure of being the first one to earn a victory.
Izzy Phillips scored two goals and the Bruisers played terrific defense in a 2-0 season-opening victory over Soddy-Daisy at GPS.
Strang incorporated an aggressive style of play, which differed immensely from the defensive approach of previous years. The Bruisers fired off 11 shots on goal and created numerous opportunities in their attack.
"I really thought the girls played hard, stayed focus and stuck to the game plan," Strang said. "Mentally we were prepared, and the seniors showed a lot of leadership."
GPS limited the opportunities of the Lady Trojans' dangerous forward duo of Hannah Wyatt and Summer Lanter. The latter is coming off a knee injury suffered during the summer and played in shorter increments as she works to get her conditioning back after being cleared last week.
"I thought our defense did a good job of stepping up and reading passes," Strang said. "They did a good job of stepping up before the play could actually happen."
Phillips' first goal came in the 27th minute, as she got a foot on a pass from junior Haley Smith and slid the ball past Soddy-Daisy keeper Haley Myers.
She added a goal in the 76th minute after the Lady Trojans added an extra attacker in hopes of tying the game. GPS keeper Simone Busby sailed a punt to the sophomore, who beat a defender and doubled the margin.
Coach Moises Drumond was pleased with an improved second-half effort from his Lady Trojans.
"It was encouraging, but we still have a lot of work to do," he said. "We just have to plug away and get better to be where we want to be."