Grace Academy girls' soccer coach Gretchen Hammel focused most of her efforts Tuesday trying to implement some new strategies for her team.
It took a while getting used to, but it's safe to say the Lady Golden Eagles picked them up pretty well.
They scored quickly in their season opener against visiting Hixson and had a late spurt to cruise to a 7-0 win. Danielle Shumaker finished with a hat trick, while Elisabeth Mouw had two goals.
The 2013 Class A/AA state-sectional team, which returns basically all of its offensive talent, scored on half of its shots on goal, including its final three.
"We have some kinks to work out still, but the girls worked hard," Hammel said. "We struggled early in the match, but we were able to move some players around and have some success.
"We have to work on some things, but hopefully we can keep up that momentum."
Shumaker had goals in stoppage time in both halves and scored also in the 77th minute. Mouw scored in the second and 42nd minutes. Ebony Ransby scored on a header in the 65th, and Abigail Smith poked one home in the 78th.
Hixson, which advanced to the Region 3-A/AA semifinals a year ago, still has some kinks to work out as well. Coach Jeff Dean wasn't too concerned about the team's season-opening performance.
"We were all over the place, but it's the first game of the year. We'll be OK," he said. "Grace is a good team and they played well."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.