East Hamilton soccer coach John Millard knows that for his Lady Hurricanes to take the next step toward becoming a top-notch program, they have to be able to beat the caliber of teams they faced during this weekend's Baylor tournament.
For that to be the case, "poorly" cannot be the word used to describe his team's play against those teams.
The Lady Hurricanes limped to an 0-3 finish during the three-day event, which was held at Baylor, GPS, Notre Dame and Redoubt. The eight-team tournament brought three Nashville-area schools as well as Oak Ridge.
Baylor finished 3-0, defeating Station Camp 6-0, Franklin Road Academy 4-1 and University School of Jackson 5-0. Sisters McKenzie and Peyton Thomas each had three goals, while Chloe Brackett and Kelly Pannell chipped in two goals and two assists each. Brianna Avitabile had two goals for the Lady Red Raiders (4-0).
GPS (3-1) sustained its first loss of the season Saturday, 2-1 to Station Camp. The Bruisers bounced back to defeat FRA 2-0, with sophomore Izzy Phillips scoring all three goals for the Bruisers on Saturday.
"I saw some of the effects of the heat," GPS coach Leland Strang said. "We had some fatigue and heavy legs, but I was pleased overall with the weekend. The girls continued to fight through and never gave up."
Notre Dame dropped its first two matches -- 3-0 to Oak Ridge and 1-0 to USJ -- but came back to defeat Station Camp 4-0. East Hamilton lost its three matches by a combined score of 10-0.
"We absolutely saw where we can improve," Millard said. "These are teams that can show us where we're weak, and that's why we wanted to play in this tournament. For us to build on what we've done the past couple of seasons, we're going to have to be able to beat these types of teams."
Oak Ridge and USJ were the two non-area teams that finished with 2-1 records. In the Lady Wildcats' final game against East Hamilton, junior Merritt Monger scored three goals. Oak Ridge led 2-0 at halftime, but right before the break, freshman Jessica Eacott collided with an East Hamilton player and had to be carted off in an ambulance.
Lady Wildcats coach Tom Gorman said the distraction might have brought down the young team's focus, but he was happy with how they played during the tournament.
"I thought we got tired for a while and showed flashes of fatigue, but we were able to catch our second wind late in the second half," he said.
"This tournament provided a good opportunity for us to play schools outside our classification, and I'm pleased with how we performed over the entire weekend."